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City Leaders Shut Out Of Plan To Shelter Immigrant Kids

GRAND PRAIRIE (CBSDFW.COM) - As Dallas County prepares to help with the overwhelming number of unaccompanied children crossing the border, one local city says it's being left out.

"We are just totally in the dark," said Grand Prairie Mayor Pro Tem Tony Shotwell.

A week ago, Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins publicly welcomed as many as 2,000 unaccompanied border children to North Texas.

Two days ago, he announced three possible locations to house the children once they arrive. One of which, the old Lamar Alternative Education Center, is located within the Grand Prairie city limits.

However, City of Grand Prairie leaders say they're were never notified until hours before the site announcement made public.

The City of Grand Prairie sent a letter to Judge Jenkins and the Grand Prairie Independent School District asking why city leaders were not included in the discussion to make Lamar School a potential shelter site.

The stern letter, signed by the mayor, says going forward the city must to be included in all talks concerning sheltering the children, who are due here by the end of the month.

In the letter, the mayor writes whether its police or EMS, city services will be impacted once a shelter open.

Shotwell said his frustration at the process is no way reflects the city's stance on housing these children.

"I want to really make this clear," he said. "We will go into this with open hearts and open minds, but we have to know what we are going into."

Jenkins told CBS 11′s Brian New that he did notify Grand Prairie's mayor that Lamar was one of the sites the night before making the announcement. Jenkins said, "Community input is important as we find the best way to moved scared and traumatized children from incarceration on the border to compassionate care in Dallas County."

No word on when there will be a community meeting here in Grand Prairie, but city officials say they hope it's soon.

(©2014 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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