Texas Democrats support immigration reform – so it came as no surprise that the issue arose on at the party's convention of Saturday. But at the start of the day, Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins made an unexpected announcement regarding the surge of unaccompanied minors in Texas from Central America: the county is locating facilities to take in roughly 2,000 unaccompanied minors.
"We had a lot of the elected officials here, all of whom stand for the proposition that it is the right thing to do to be compassionate to children," Jenkins said, when asked why he made the announcement at the convention. "If [the state] would open up facilities to the federal government and work with them instead of working against them, then we could move these children from cages on the border to compassionate care." The move is expected to take place by late July; the average stay of children will be about 21 days. After that, the children would be taken to relatives' homes.
Jenkins was followed by speaker after speaker who continued to fire up the thousands at the Dallas Convention Center.
Among them was David Alameel, a Dallas dentist who's running against Republican U.S. Sen. John Cornyn. Alameel accepted the nomination as the Democratic Party's candidate for U.S. Senate and opened his speech praising U.S. veterans and criticizing Sen. Cornyn for not serving in the Vietnam War.
At the convention, Democrats referred to their Republican opponents as "Washington insiders" and extremists who just recently adopted language in their platform supporting "reparative" therapy for gays.
"We have candidates that are responsible, that have a history of working across the aisle that when they enter government, as elected leaders, will do the right thing to move Texas forward," says Gilberto Hinojosa, chair of the Texas Democratic Party, who was re-elected at the convention. "It's the role of government to give everybody an opportunity to move up and get a little piece of this great American pie."