Last Updated:October 21 @ 05:07 pm

Austin, TX wants to help illegal aliens

By Austin American-Statesman

(File Photo)

(File Photo)

The Austin City Council on Thursday could take a stand on two controversial ideas aimed at helping people who come to the United States illegally.

Under a proposal from Council Member Laura Morrison, the city would express support "for efforts to provide services" to unaccompanied minors from Central America who are illegally crossing the Texas border.

Morrison also wants the city to work with other government agencies and community groups to identify resources and funding to help such children. City staffers would have to report back to the council by late September.

The city and social service nonprofits might be able to provide temporary housing, medical care, legal help or other services, she said.

"One important piece of this is symbolism," she said. "Some cities have taken a proactive approach to say they do not want to welcome these children. I want to make sure we are welcoming."

A separate proposal from City Council Member Sheryl Cole would ask city staffers to study the possibility of creating a city-issued ID card, which could be helpful to migrants who need a form of identification to avoid arrest, detainment and deportation.

The City Council will vote on both proposals Thursday.

Helping migrant children

Since the fall, more than 57,000 unaccompanied minors have tried to cross the border, a sharp spike from the prior year. They are being held in detention facilities as they await court hearings. Many came from Honduras, El Salvador and Guatemala to escape high rates of poverty and violence.

Some cities, including Marble Falls, have passed resolutions saying they refuse to house such migrants -- even if the federal government hasn't asked them to.

Austin Interfaith -- a coalition of congregations, schools, unions and nonprofits -- has been pressing Austin officials and other local entities to help identify public and private resources to help house and support unaccompanied minors.

"These are the most vulnerable among us, and we have the wealth in this community to provide housing and connect them with health services and clinics and social and behavioral support," said Kurt Cadena-Mitchell, an Austin Interfaith leader and a member of Wildflower Unitarian Universalist Church, which has been collecting food, clothes and other goods for migrant children.

"The city shouldn't shoulder the entire cost of any expense. For this to work, it has to be partnerships," Cadena-Mitchell said.

In 2005, the city of Austin housed more than 4,000 evacuees of Hurricane Katrina at the Austin Convention Center, setting up a city-within-a-city there, with a library, computers, showers, cafeteria and more. Then-Mayor Will Wynn later said that Austin spent $8 million on the immediate response to Katrina and $17 million on rental assistance for evacuees for six months.

Morrison said she doesn't necessarily see Austin setting up that kind of full-scale shelter operation for unaccompanied minors.

But the city might work with social service and housing groups to provide short-term housing until the kids are placed in foster care or sent to live with relatives, she said.

Travis County Republican Party Chairman James Dickey said his group applauds the "compassionate" efforts of private groups to gather goods and services for unaccompanied minors.

"However, given the property tax and affordability crisis we already have in Austin, it is unwise for the City Council to further increase costs on Austin residents" by hosting children from across the border, he said.

Looking at ID cards

A handful of other cities, including New Haven, Conn., and San Francisco, offer municipal ID cards to residents, regardless of their immigration status.

Not having a government-issued ID can be a barrier for immigrants, homeless people and sometimes seniors to applying for and receiving housing, health care, education, bank accounts and other basic services, said Cole, the Austin City Council member.

Nearly one-fifth of Austin's population, or about 150,000 people, is foreign-born, Cole said.

Migrants who are stopped by police can be asked for personal identification, and those who can't provide it can be taken into custody, detained and possibly deported, said Carlota Garcia, a leader with Austin Interfaith.

"We are hoping that this will be a way for people to access an ID card that will be acceptable to local law enforcement," Garcia said.

Under her proposal, Cole wants to convene a stakeholder group to talk to other cities, discuss other issues associated with starting the ID programs and report back to the council about their work by Dec. 1. Cole would like to see a city ID card available next year.

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(c)2014 Austin American-Statesman, Texas

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Distributed by MCT Information Services

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12 Comments

  1. capricorn1Comment by capricorn1
    August 7, 2014 @ 12:13 pm

    fubar!

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    Rating: 4.7/5 (14 votes cast)
    • redraiderComment by redraider
      August 8, 2014 @ 7:52 am

      “These are the most vulnerable among us, and we have the wealth in this community to provide housing and connect them with health services and clinics and social and behavioral support,” said Kurt Cadena-Mitchell, an Austin Interfaith leader and a member of Wildflower Unitarian Universalist Church”

      Particularly the “we have the wealth in this community to provide housing” part, what she, as a liberal, really means:

      “YOU GIVE YOUR MONEY AND TAXES to US because we know how to spend your money better than you do and because YOU are too GREEDY and SELFISH to spend YOUR money the way you want to. And we don’t CARE if you don’t like that we are spending it contrary to your values of protecting this country from illegal aliens.”

      Notice she didn’t say that she was going to start taking all these kids into HER and the cronies who are with her, houses and spend HER money. She wants to spend YOUR money, your TAXES (because she is pressuring the CITY to spend their TAX REVENUES (they don’t have ANY money unless it is taken in taxes) to do it), to make illegal aliens feel welcome.

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      Rating: 5.0/5 (7 votes cast)
  2. peleusComment by peleus
    August 7, 2014 @ 1:46 pm

    She should not be out without supervision, or is she going to adopt and raise them?

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    Rating: 4.8/5 (21 votes cast)
  3. doszapComment by doszap
    August 7, 2014 @ 1:54 pm

    Of COURSE THEY DO, they are the SODOM AND GOMORRAH of TEXAS.
    Every fruitcake, tree hugger, and nutjob,druggie,LIBTARD inhabits that city.

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    Rating: 4.8/5 (24 votes cast)
    • redraiderComment by redraider
      August 8, 2014 @ 7:56 am

      Exactly, it’s the loony left bastion of Texas.

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      Rate this comment:
      Rating: 5.0/5 (3 votes cast)
  4. elderalComment by elderal
    August 7, 2014 @ 1:58 pm

    The People’s Republic of the City of Austin has never failed to embrace every loony, liberal idea ever suggested. They had the first openly gay member of the state house of representatives. Travis County (county seat is Austin) is one of more than 200 in Texas and they alone failed to pass a state constitutional amendment affirming the traditional definition of marriage. The sum of all IQ’s on the city counsel is still only two digits. Thus encouraging and supporting illegal activities (like the current invasion of America) is certainly nothing new for them.

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    Rating: 4.8/5 (17 votes cast)
  5. jlk511Comment by jlk511
    August 7, 2014 @ 2:06 pm

    Maybe we should send all of them there

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    Rating: 4.6/5 (14 votes cast)
    • rhondarComment by rhondar
      August 8, 2014 @ 10:50 am

      Those people are NOT refugees.
      Christians in Iraq are being killed in great numbers, they are even beheading their children putting their heads on sticks now so it’s a genocide. THAT is what I call a refugee….not a border hopper.

      France is offering asylum to these Christians.
      That’ goes to show you how screwed up our people’s values are when they support illegal immigration but do nothing about genocide of Christians.

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      Rating: 5.0/5 (1 vote cast)
  6. tberrytxComment by tberrytx
    August 7, 2014 @ 2:44 pm

    Last year my son interviewed for a position with the city of Pflugerville, Texas, which is between Austin and Round Rock. I thing they have a most appropriate motto: “Between a rock and a weird place” This just proves the validity of the motto.

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    Rating: 4.6/5 (10 votes cast)
  7. bethcz8Comment by bethcz8
    August 8, 2014 @ 12:02 am

    “They are the most vulnerable among us”. Rubbish! What don’t they understand about “illegal immigrant”? They were NOT “among you” even a few months ago. They CAME THERE, looking for free stuff. That is NOT like setting up shelters for Hurricane Katrina evacuees – who WERE residents of the US – for the most part, citizens and LEGAL residents of the US.

    If they want to give help to the poor, downtrodden, and victimized, there are a LOT of poor people in the world who didn’t have $6000 each to hand a “coyote” to maybe traffic them. There are much poorer people in much harsher conditions.

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    Rating: 4.5/5 (6 votes cast)
  8. Eagle525Comment by Eagle525
    August 8, 2014 @ 12:10 am

    Laura Morrison is a loon and has no idea of the Pandoras Box she is opening. Hey Laura do you know Joe Biden?

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    Rating: 4.4/5 (7 votes cast)
  9. conservativerightComment by conservativeright
    August 8, 2014 @ 7:41 am

    I keep hearing all of this crying about the “children,” yet most of the illegals I see in pictures are adults. These liberals want to shove these people down our throats and make us pay for them. They want them here, they can pay for and house them personally!

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    Rating: 4.2/5 (5 votes cast)

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