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County Judge Addresses Concerns About Immigrant Children Housing

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GRAND PRAIRIE (CBSDFW.COM) - Residents who live near the Lamar Alternative Education Center where hundreds of South and Central American immigrant children will soon be housed say they have a better understanding of what’s to come after a meeting with Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins.

They were initially concerned that a large green space in their neighborhood would be used once the children arrived, but many their concerns were finally addressed Sunday morning.

Deputy Mayor Pro Tem Tony Shotwell and many residents had been critical of the lack of communication from Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins.

But Sunday, Jenkins and Shotwell and several volunteers knocked on the doors of more than 300 residents, talking with each of them personally, to explain what they can expect when hundreds of children arrive in their neighborhood.

One of the major concerns from residents, was not the children, but the protestors they believe will enter their neighborhood once the children arrive.

“I live right here so I don’t want to look out the back window and see people protesting everyday,” said Nathan Smith, who lives adjacent to the school.

Jenkins said a security plan is in place and Grand Prairie Police plan to have an extensive police presence in the neighborhood.

“As long as they make their statement in keeping with the law,” Jenkins said. “This is America and everybody is entitled to an opinion. If they break the law or impede the care of these children, then we’ll enforce the law.”

The building, the Lamar Alternative Education Center, is in need of repairs.

Shotwell says he hopes the extensive repairs can be completed by the time the children are expected to arrive, which is at the end of July.

Jenkins said he hopes to have a volunteer and donation plan in place in about a week’s time.

(©2014 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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