DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) – Dallas County is putting a plan in place to house hundreds of children flooding the US-Mexico border, and details of the plan are beginning to take shape.
Two-thousand children being held in McAllen are reportedly set for resettlement in Dallas County. There are 12 sites under consideration, three of them are former DISD schools.
“We hope to have the first sites selected in the next day or tomorrow, so by Thursday we can have meetings with elected officials in the cities that have been selected,” said Dallas County Commissioners Court Judge Clay Jenkins.
Jenkins met with representatives from more than 50 non-profit organizations and service groups to discuss plans to put vacant, former schools back into operation. The old Harlee Elementary School and Dade Middle School are just some of the sites under consideration to provide temporary housing and space to meet the medical and educational needs for thousands of unaccompanied children crossing the border.
The United Way of Dallas, the Salvation Army and Catholic Charities are also ready to assist, most likely as management for these emergency shelters.
“We want them to be healthy, fed, everything they would normally have, and time to play,” said Nikki Beneke from Society of St. Vincent De Paul.
Dallas County health officials are preparing to immunize and screen the children.
After today’s meetings, Judge Jenkins will head to the border, where he will survey the crisis first hand on Wednesday.
“We have the capability in Dallas County to do something, and we will,” said Jenkins.
Officials say, if approved, the shelters could be open and operational by the end of the month. Judge Jenkins said the first housing site for the children could be announced as soon as Wednesday.
Jenkins said he has has received hate mail, angry calls and community support on this plan he started.
On Tuesday he heard from one Dallas resident, who questioned where the money to pay for this program will ultimately come from.
“Is it not going to be the case that eventually there’s no federal funding for this program?” questioned Dallas resident Ken Harris.
But Jenkins, who called the White House and asked how Dallas could help, maintains Americans have a responsibility to help these kids.
“Whatever you think about immigration, these are children, and they’re here under no fault of their own, and these children have no where else to go,” he said.
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