Officials Claim Central American Teens Housed At Church Camp Pose Security Threat
In the latest example of extreme xenophobia in Texas, a constable south of Dallas is urging residents to arm themselves after the federal government announced plans to temporarily house "unaccompanied" children from Central America who have been separated from or have no parents at a local church camp.
About 500 undocumented immigrants, ages 12 to 17, will be housed in Ellis County to relieve a recent surge of children crossing the U.S.-Mexico border, many of whom are fleeing gang violence in places like El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras, which has been named the murder capital of the world. The children will be housed for 21 days at an Assemblies of God camp through a contract with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, according to The Dallas Morning News.
Ellis County Constable Mike Jones, who once referred to Muslims as "rock monkeys" and called for executing the entire family of anyone who kills an American, responded to the plan to house the unaccompanied children on his Facebook page Wednesday.
"Shouldn't we be moving be moving them closer to the border so we can kick their butts back across the Rio Grande?" Jones wrote. "I am told these illegals are NOT Syrians, but are South Americans. Are you kidding me? Are we supposed to believe anything the Obama administration tells us?"
Jones, whose Facebook page show photos of him wearing 2nd Amendment tee shirts, added that because the federal government isn't providing security, local law enforcement will be on a heightened state of alert, and noted, "We are oath keepers," a reference to the so-called patriot movement that some see as right-wing vigilantes.
"My advice to everyone is to remain vigilant, to carry your weapon at all times," Jones wrote. "Do not hesitate to call 911 if you suspect something is going on. Let us check it out. Meanwhile we will be working hard to get these folks out of Ellis County."
But U.S. Congressman Joe Barton, a far right Texas tea partier who is opposed to the children being house in the Lone Star state, says in a statement that in fact the federal government is providing security.
"While at the camp, there will be over 200 adults who come with them to supervise their daily routine. Additionally, there will be private security provided and paid for by the federal government plus local law enforcement provided by the Ellis County Sheriff's Department."
Barton also says he is "working to prevent a reoccurrence and to change the law."
The unaccompanied minors are being housed by the nonprofit BCFS, formerly Baptist Children and Family Services, which is assuring people that they've undergone background checks and medical screenings, and that none will be Syrian. But other Ellis County officials are showing only slightly more Christian compassion than Jones. County Commissioner Paul Perry said he's concerned because "teenagers in Guatemala are not teenagers in Ellis County," according to a report from The Waxahachie Daily Light.
"They've been exposed to things and do things that the average teenager in this county has probably not learned how to do," Perry said. "This was imposed upon us; we didn't solicit this. Any person would be really concerned about security issues. These kids have crossed the border unlawfully; somehow they had the wit and the skills to make it through Mexico from Guatemala. ... What kids are we dealing with?"
Ellis County Sheriff Johnny Brown said he fears some of the minors could escape the camp with no money or food.
"My major concern is, and it's not all of them, is you're going to have some of them that already have family members in the United States," Brown said. "Some of them could leave the property. Desperate people tend to do desperate things."
Nevertheless, Brown vowed the situation is "under control and we have everything secured."
No word on whether he's also prepared to protect the unaccompanied children from the citizens of Ellis County.
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