Protesters against, and in favor of providing shelter to refugee Central American children held a large rally this past weekend in downtown Dallas.
Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins announced last month the city would help in the humanitarian crisis by taking in 2,000 refugee children. Jenkins received large praise from Democrats for his commitment to helping those in need, but conservatives in Dallas were quick to criticize him.
As evident by the picture on the right, anti-immigrant protesters showed up visibly angry at the thought of their city providing shelter to these young children. Claiming to also have a genuine concern for these young kids, protesters in favor of deporting the refugees held posters that read “No Amnesty” and “Secure Our Border,” their idea of “compassion” for these children.
“There is a great amount of lawlessness in this country, and it comes from misguided administrators like Mr. Jenkins,” said one resident from Garland.
More below the jump.Like those wishing to provide shelter to these children, the anti-immigrant protesters in Dallas in the crowd claimed to also be concerned for these children, but questioned whether providing shelter for them in Dallas was truly best for them. Anti-immigrant protesters in Dallas claimed to want to deport these children so that they could be with their parents back home. (Actually, many of these children are being brought to their family already here in the US).
“What Dallas County is doing is exacerbating the problem,” said one anti-immigrant protester. “Our nation is drunk with not obeying the law, and we are enabling.”
Seems like conservatives have now made up an excuse to deport these children: They're claiming deportation is an act of “kindness.”
If you've been keeping up with the news about the border crisis, you might have noticed this has become the go-to excuse for conservatives: Demanding immediate deportation is simply in the best interest of these children. “Tens of thousands of children are being smuggled into the United States by dangerous drug cartels and transnational gangs; it is heartless to allow that to continue,” said U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz last week, moments before naming deportation of DREAMers his “top priority.”
Wishing to show their “compassionate” side, a bill titled the “HUMANE Act” was filed last week by supposed Democrat U.S. Rep. Henry Cuellar (Laredo) and U.S. Sen. John Cornyn. Their bill would accelerate procedures to deport the refugee children to their likely deaths back home.
Yesterday, Gov. Rick Perry announced he will be activating up to 1,000 National Guard Troops at the border. Perry also claims to be looking out for the kids. “I will not stand idly by while our citizens are under assault and little children from Central America are detained in squalor,” said Perry at yesterday's press conference. “We are too good a country for that to occur.”
But what kind of message are Republicans really giving people? Especially voters with migrant ties?
“All these politicians coming down to border, they don't care about solving the problem, they just want to make a political point,” said Valley Sen. Juan Hinojosa.
“We should be sending the Red Cross to the border, not the National Guard,” said U.S. Rep. Joaquin Castro to the Texas Tribune. “These children are not trying to evade Border Patrol and there's no reason to confront them with soldiers.”
As a first-generation American — born and raised alongside the border in McAllen — the stories of these children hit home in a very personal way. I see my own family in the faces of these children. Like them, my parents risked their lives to come to the US in order to provide our family a better quality of life. Yet, my family's story is not unique to the state; it's shared by countless of other Hispanic families in Texas. Whether we are first-generation Americans, or second, or third, etc.
Perhaps this is why hundreds of Valley residents have come to the aid of these children, and continue to do so today. They too might see their families in the lives of these children. The last time I saw my hometown mobilize this way behind a single cause was when Republicans fought to impose the border wall around our community; a measure we adamantly opposed. Residents of McAllen, the city most directly affected by this crisis, are not calling for more Border Patrol agents or the National Guard. They're calling for more sympathy for these kids and their families. They're calling for the rest of the state to help.
Back in February, America's Voice and Latino Decisions released an in-depth report on Texas' rapidly evolving demographics. Their report showed how the politics of immigration could, ultimately, help decide Texas politics for many decades to come, much like it did in California.
Their warning to Texas Republicans? Do not alienate Hispanic voters by making immigration an issue. Texas will turn solid blue if Republicans mobilize Hispanics against them.
Seems like Republicans weren't listening.
Follow Omar on Twitter at @AraizaTX.