DALLAS COUNTY (CBSDFW.COM) – According to the federal government, the border crisis is no longer bad enough to need Dallas County’s help. The news meant work to prepare vacant schools and other facilities came to a screeching halt on Thursday.
North Texan Cindy Cole said, “There was a bit of disappointment, because as a community we were prepared and we were very excited.”
Cole was looking forward to welcoming some 2,000 migrant children to North Texas. She led a grassroots effort to prepare care packages for children and families already in San Antonio.
“Even if we can’t see those children, we’ve seen a child get something… their face lights up.”
Over the last month, the number of unaccompanied children crossing the border dropped from more than 300 a day to about half that number.
Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins, who spearheaded North Texas housing preparations, announced the federal government no longer needs additional temporary housing.
“There was a desperate situation in June,” he said. “That situation has made a dramatic turn.”
Fixing up just one proposed site in Grand Prairie, Jenkins said, would have cost up to $8 million –and that was to run the facility for less than a year.
“It wouldn’t make sense to spend that money if you have hundreds of beds now available at Lackland Field and you could put kids there first.”
The downturn in need has some breathing a sigh of relief. Grand Prairie Fire Chief Robert Fite said, “To be really honest we’re not surprised. There was such a tremendous time crunch on this process. There was so much work that had to be done on that school.”
Chief Fite said the experience did provide the city a rare opportunity to work with the school district, county, state, and federal government… all at once.
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