Dallas County passes ‘Welcoming Communities' resolution

In response to the travel ban, one Dallas County commissioner authored a resolution aimed at making immigrants and refugees know they're welcomed.

More than 100 people packed into commissioner's court Tuesday morning to give their views on the ‘Welcoming Communities’ resolution.

Commissioner Mike Cantrell got into with one of the speakers who wasn't signed up to speak and chastised Judge Clay Jenkins for the way in which he ran the meeting. But despite the drama, the resolution passed 4 to 1 after two hours of public testimony.

One by one, supporters of a resolution aimed at welcoming immigrants and refugees to Dallas County took to the podium to urge the governing body to pass the ‘Welcoming Communities’ resolution.

“Dallas County, under your leadership, can be a beacon of hope,” said supporter Rene Martinez.

All but one person spoke in favor of the resolution which, among other things, rejects racial profiling and provides a path to citizenship for undocumented immigrants.

“I can tell you first hand that Mexico is not sending us their criminals, drug dealers or rapists,” a supporter said. “Instead, they sent me the love of my life — the woman I married.”

City Councilman Lee Kleinman cautioned the commission against passing the resolution as is. He took issue with part of the resolution that "calls on local enforcement agencies to end nonessential collaborations with immigration and customs enforcement.”

During his speech, many supporters of the resolution stood with their backs to Kleinman, an action that set off Commissioner Cantrell.

“It's amazing to me when we had the speaker who came up to speak, you turned your back on him,” said Freddy Haynes with the Friendship-West Baptist Church. “It was an expression of free speech, which is guaranteed in the constitution.”

In the end, Cantrell was the only commissioner who voted against the resolution. Supporters hope the message of inclusion will spread.

“We hope that this will embolden other cities and institutions to do the same,” said Diana Ramirez with the Workers Defense Project.

Commissioner Cantrell believes passing the resolution "paints a bullseye" on Dallas County and believes the state and federal government could cut funding to the county. The other commissioners made it clear to the public that the resolution no way means Dallas County is a “sanctuary city.”

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