DALLAS — The Dallas County judge expects strong opposition against a county plan to house and care for 2,000 children who crossed the U.S.-Mexico border alone.

Clay Jenkins on Friday told The Dallas Morning News there has been fierce debate over the proposal, with activists on both sides expected to attend meetings of the commissioner’s court, as well as community forums.

Jenkins also is concerned about demonstrators coming out in force when the immigrant children began arriving in Dallas County at the end of the month.

“I hope people will listen to their greater angels and see these children as children and not the others,” Jenkins said while attending state Rep. Dan Branch’s annual Fourth of July picnic.

Jenkins on Thursday announced three proposed sites to house the immigrant children: a middle school in the Red Bird area, an alternative education building in Grand Prairie and a Parkland Memorial Hospital warehouse.

Texas has been the main entry point for the more than 50,000 children who’ve come illegally to the U.S., many without adults, from Central American countries.

The flood of unaccompanied minors has renewed the debate over immigration reform and border security.

Jenkins, a Democrat, has been criticized for politicizing his own plan, including his campaign developing an online fundraising appeal that mentioned the plan to house the immigrant children, and the fact he first announced the proposal during his speech last week at the Texas Democratic Convention.

But Jenkins said the issue of the immigrant children has nothing to do with the ongoing political debate over immigration reform.

“This is not a statement about immigration, but passion toward children,” he said.

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