DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) – Fresh off of their tour of detention facilities in McAllen, near the Mexican border, officials in Dallas County will reveal their plans for immigrants on Thursday. Judge Clay Jenkins has been working with a number of agencies in the DFW area, and he hopes to name the locations for two Dallas shelters.
Jenkins, along with state Sen. Royce West and Dallas pastor Freddy Haynes, toured the McAllen detention facilites on Wednesday. They arrived back in North Texas on Wednesday night. Jenkins plans to work with the federal government to bring unaccompanied immigrant kids to Dallas County.
This is a critical mission, Jenkins explained, because the signs of trouble in these detention facilities, which are bursting at the seams, cannot be ignored any longer. “We saw a child that was under 1 year old being held by a Border Patrol agent,” Jenkins said. “Various children in distress or scared, just completely zoned out.”
Jenkins is talking to several agencies, churches and individuals who want to help the effort. That information is then being passed on to federal government officials.
Some children are already in DFW ahead of the surge. Almost every Wednesday, one can see dozens of undocumented children appear before a judge in Dallas. Some are reunited with loved ones, but others face a more uncertain future.
Norys Perez left El Salvador six months ago with an 11-year-old cousin. They made it to McAllen, where they were then caught by Border Patrol agents. His family paid a human smuggler thousands of dollars to get them into the United States, because gang violence was out of control and his family feared for his life.
Another child showed pictures of his family, including his father, who was murdered after refusing to pay extortionists.
Catholic Charities of Dallas works with many of these undocumented children. “I don’t think the average American can comprehend the violence and hideous conditions these children are fleeing,” explained Vanna Slaughter from Catholic Charities of Dallas. “And they’re children. We can’t blame them.”
Soon, about 2,000 of these undocumented children could be housed in shelters located here in North Texas.
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