Texas Town Bans Undocumented Children

League City doesn't want to house them, should the government ask
By Kate Seamons,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 9, 2014 7:45 AM CDT
Texas Town Bans Undocumented Children
In this June 25, 2014 photo, a group of immigrants from Honduras and El Salvador who crossed the U.S.-Mexico border illegally are stopped in Granjeno, Texas.   (AP Photo/Eric Gay)

As the issue of undocumented children streaming into the US heats up, one Texas town has taken action. League City's city council last night passed a resolution, 6-2, that would see the city bar any federal request to operate a detention or processing center there, though the Houston Chronicle reports no such requests are known to have been made. The vote followed 90 minutes of what the Galveston County Daily News calls "impassioned pleas" from those on both sides of the argument, with some calling the measure—which cites a "potential threat of communicable diseases reported to be prevalent" among these migrants—"brave" while others described it as an "embarrassment."

A legal expert tells KHOU the measure doesn't have much legal footing: "It’s simply not the city’s legal right to tell the federal government what they can and cannot do in the area of immigration. Even states don't have the authority to do this." Heidi Thiess, the councilwoman who drafted the measure, says she wanted the city to take preemptive action before any requests came in—and embolden other municipalities to do the same. It seems to be working: Galveston County commissioners voted 4-1 yesterday in favor of a similar resolution, notes the Chronicle. As the paper explains, Border Patrol is required to move unaccompanied children from countries other than Mexico and Canada to the Office of Refugee Resettlement within 72 hours, but the detention network has been unable to keep up with the recent numbers. The feds yesterday looked at an empty Houston middle school as one potential new housing option. (More undocumented immigrant stories.)

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