Officials blindsided by proposed undocumented immigrant shelter in Clint

KDBC
Monday, July 28, 2014 - 10:47pm

 The small town of Clint could soon possibly play a big role in the immigration crisis.

A New York based company wants to build the country's largest shelter for immigrants, just outside the town.

But the news was a surprise for local officials.
Everyone from the mayor, to state representatives were completely blindsided by this proposal, .which gained traction after an article in the Houston Chronicle revealed the plan.

According to the article, the company called Abraham Lincoln Transition Lodge is looking at several sites across Texas to house undocumented children.

The shelter in Clint would be the largest, housing thirty five hundred undocumented children.

"My reaction, I didn't know anything about it," said Clint Mayor Dale Reinhardt.

Reinhardt said he heard about it for the first time when the paper approached him on Thursday.

"Something this massive, there should have been more notice about what is going on," he said.

And it was mixed reactions from people who live in Clint.

"I don't agree with that because we will pay more taxes for people that are coming from other countries," said Raul Ortega.

"I really do think that they should give them an opportunity,” said Paul Lopez. “I really do think so. A shelter, yeah, that would be great."

"Who knows what they are. How they will act," said Fernando Salcedo.

One thing the mayor says needs to be looked at is the impact such a shelter would have on the area.

"If you bring that many people into the area, without a study, we don't know what the repercussions could possibly by," said Reinhardt.

The mayor wasn't the only one to be caught off guard by the proposed shelter.

Representative Mary Gonzalez, who is from Clint, said she was just made aware of the proposed shelter Monday morning.

"The federal government is looking into potential places, should the crisis continue at the same levels. But there are no plans, and there is no definite center at all," she said.

Gonzalez said the chances are the entire proposal may have been over-exaggerated.

"Say I'm a private company, I could send a press release out and say I want to build a building on the moon. That doesn't mean the federal government is going to build it," she said.

Something Reinhardt said everyone needs to remember.

"We need to remember the old slogan, ‘look before you leap,’" he said.

Since the mayor first found out about the proposal, he has had time to think about what it would mean for the area.
He has several concerns about the idea, like the strain it would put on the school district and most importantly, he said, the health and reality of putting that many kids together in one place.
   

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