DALLAS, Texas — The Collin County Commissioner’s Court in McKinney met on August 4 for a second and final time on the proposed resolution that would ban housingillegal minors in the county. Judge Keith Self, who was not present at the July 28 meeting, presided over a full courtroom. Public comments lasted for more than two hours and were followed by the court’s vote.
This was a kinder, gentler resolution than Commissioner Mark Reid originally presented and it was no longer titled “In Support of Ending Illegal Immigration” but instead asked “What is the proper role of government in providing the housing and care for undocumented aliens?”
Residents from around the county spoke either resoundingly in favor or contentiously against the resolution as they had before, although, Reid’s critics thanked him for the changes made to some of the language in the resolution, most notably calling the minors “unaccompanied alien children” (UAC), the standard Office of Refugee Resettlement protocol.
Overall, the unified message for those in support of the resolution was “rule of law.” For those against, it was that the resolution was a “moot point” since the minors were not coming to Dallas County, now so “it should be tabled.”
However, several speakers who identified themselves as Christian and Jewish spoke on behalf of charity and two legal immigrants spoke on behalf of legal immigration. Emotions only got the best of a few residents like, Jim Wallace of Richardson, who called the resolution “anti-children.” He then verbally attacked Reid, alluding to the KKK by rancorously calling upon the Commissioner and his supporters to “take off their hoods and put them in the closet.”
Houston then told the court that “the Federal government said there was no longer a need” to house these minors to which Judge Self commented, “You have an amazing trust in your federal government.”
On the other hand, Plano resident, Wayne Richard, spoke in favor of the resolution and told the court, “I serve on the Salvation Army Board of Directors here in Collin County; our efforts assist many minorities including Latinos. Those who would attempt to peg a patriot’s love of country as racist, I submit your accusations should fall on deaf ears.”
Coti Rodriguez, Collin County chair of the League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC) was a returning speaker. She insisted that the minors crossing the border illegally were coming with immunization cards; while Adam Richards of McKinney claimed these unaccompanied minors were “often better vaccinated than the children of Texas.”
Returnee Rick Atkinson of McKinney disagreed with voices like Rodriguez. He told the court, in support of the resolution and securing the border, “Breitbart reported today that people are coming through the Texas border from 75 countries.” He was sourcing information from Breitbart Texas Managing Director Brandon Darby’s article, “Leaked CBP Report Shows Entire World Exploiting Open US Border in his comments.
Allen’s Bethany Carson returned with her promised pre-emptive petition to counter what she called Reid’s “pre-emptive resolution.” Of the 500 signatures, Judge Self pointed out that only 52 were Collin County residents.
Prior to the public comments, Reid spoke seriously to the court. He said, “As commissioner, I swore an oath to uphold our laws. This resolution is nothing more than an affirmation of these laws. It is not hateful, racist, indecent or any of the other denigrating terms that have been put forth out of either conflicting political agendas or people whose compassion for these children outweighs their concern for the consequences of over-reaching government.”
Following the public portion of the meeting, commissioners Chris Hill, Cheryl Williams and Duncan Webb hashed out more language with Reid and Self, broadening the scope of the resolution out to state “undocumented aliens” and not just minors who as Webb pointed out, only comprised 20-25 percent of those entering illegally. “The rest are not,” he stated.
They also amended the wording “and the work of charities and other groups helping the migrants” to add that it should take place “near the border” where they agreed the undocumented should remain while awaiting immigration court hearings.
Self then addressed the courtroom. He was very supportive of legal immigration, saying that it should continue and expand “on our terms,” yet was critical of the federal government “who has blatantly failed to secure and protect our borders.”
He emphasized that Texas can do so by enforcing state laws. He was extremely concerned with the disregard for laws at the border and posited to those who supported undocumented aliens just entering the United States illegally that “laws are not arbitrary and we don’t pick and choose which ones we follow.” He asked, “what other laws do you wish the government to ignore?”
In the end, Self sided with the rule of law. He said, “We are a nation of laws, not of men,” although he was concerned that that model was “in grave danger today.”
He encouraged everyone to support faith-based and other charities on behalf of the undocumented minors. He also quoted “founding father Benjamin Rush, who said, ‘The world stands in more need of justice than charity, and indeed it is the want of justice that renders charity everywhere so necessary.'”
Self added, “I like many others want more justice around the world but we can’t change every government and that’s what makes our private American charity so necessary around the world.”
The judge offered three recommendations to solving the border crisis: “First, close the border to illegal immigration, today. Not tomorrow, today. Second, keep all illegal aliens in Texas close to the border. Treat them humanely, honorably, and charitably and close to the border. Third, return them to their native land as soon as possible so that the charitable organizations we will now support because we are aware of the issue can take care of them.”
The Collin County Commissioners Court voted unanimously to pass the amended resolution.
Follow Merrill Hope on Twitter @OutOfTheBoxMom.