Dallas County could prepare to house migrant children at temporary shelters

The total number of migrants being apprehended at the Mexico border reached a 12-year high in March with Border Patrol detaining 103,00 people. That includes 9,000 unaccompanied minors.

Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins says he's been contacted by the government to help locate temporary shelters.

Jenkins says so far his role is just to offer recommendations for the locations. But he says in his opinion it makes sense to open shelters in the Metroplex to situate the children closer to resources and people who want to help.

Volunteers at Lovers Lane United Methodist Church are prepping for an Easter celebration for underprivileged children and are reflecting on another volunteer mission three weeks ago at a detention facility in the Rio Grande Valley.

“I have never seen conditions for children and families to be so chaotic and overrun,” said volunteer Marsha Gordon. “There were more people than any resources available at the facility.”

Jenkins says volunteers like Marsha Gordon and her friends are a big reason why he supports housing unaccompanied migrant children in Dallas County and easing the strain at the border. The federal government reached out to him last week seeking guidance identifying possible locations.

DFW is one of several metropolitan areas under consideration. It’s not clear how many and where exactly the children could be housed.

Jenkins says the list of potential locations has not been shared with him, and he did not offer a potential timeline. But he emphasizes the county is not on the hook financially.

“They would pick a contractor, and they would be responsible for paying for everything,” the judge said.

Under Jenkins, Dallas County offered to help house migrant children in 2014 and last year. So far, it has not come to fruition. But Jenkins says he remains committed to helping if Dallas County is chosen.

The women of Lovers Lane United Methodist Church are also ready to help, too.

“I don’t see it as a controversy,” said volunteer Wendy Campbell. “How it happens might be a controversy, but these people are here.”

Jenkins reiterated that, for now, federal officials are just coming to look. He says like previous years, it may not pan out.