A Killeen councilman hopes the council will adopt a resolution prohibiting the city from providing refuge to immigrants crossing the U.S.-Mexican border illegally.
Councilman Jonathan Okray drafted a proposed resolution Wednesday and sent it to City Manager Glenn Morrison, Mayor Scott Cosper and the Killeen City Council proposing the city “refuse requests or directives by federal agencies to permit or establish any facility for the purpose of processing, housing or detaining any illegal aliens.”
In the proposal, Okray said the federal government has “failed to protect the homeland” in accordance with the Constitution, and “Texas has the right and obligation to protect its citizens” in accordance with the Texas Constitution.
“The citizens of Killeen are greatly concerned regarding the ongoing massive influx of illegal aliens seeking unauthorized entry into the United States,” Okray said. “The leaders of Killeen question the impact that the sudden influx of school-age illegal minors will have on our independent school district, educational funding, school resources, campus security and health safety for our children.”
According to the White House, more than 47,000 unaccompanied child migrants crossed the border this year. By the year’s end, an estimated 70,000 to 90,000 are expected to have crossed the border.
Killeen spokeswoman Hilary Shine said the city has not received any request for aid in housing undocumented immigrants.
Raul Villaronga, president of Killeen chapter of the League of United Latin American Citizens Council and a former Killeen mayor and councilman, said the proposed resolution “is a stupid idea.”
“What does it do? What would that accomplish? It doesn’t accomplish a damn thing,” he said. “They’re children and for someone to come up with something that prohibits them being provided shelter in Killeen is absolutely stupid.”
Villaronga said being in a city as diverse in Killeen, the population is made up of immigrants.
“If that’s what Okray wants to do, then be my guest, but I’ll do everything I can to make sure that he never gets back on the council again,” he said. “He doesn’t represent my feelings on this and the feelings of a lot of people. Let’s get some solutions, not cause more problems.”
Last month, the Bell County Commissioners Court adopted a similar resolution that would ban the housing of undocumented child immigrants in county facilities.
The issue also sparked several rallies in Temple with activists on both sides of the immigration debate gathering to promote their views. Central Texas Tea Party members demonstrated outside the Temple Municipal Building before a council meeting last month protesting immigration and the potential housing of children crossing the border illegally. Days before the tea party demonstration, Refugee Children — a group advocating for children crossing the border — held a rally at Ferguson Park in Temple.
Morrison said Okray’s request will go before the council at its Aug. 19 workshop meeting.