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Dallas County Commissioners Approve ‘Welcoming Community’ Resolution

Dallas County leaders passed a resolution Tuesday calling the county a “welcoming community,” using their own terms to define a sensitive topic across the country.

Critics are calling the resolution an angry response to efforts by Texas Gov. Greg Abbott and President Donald Trump to cut funding to so-called “sanctuary cities.”

Yet, supporters of the resolution insist it does not make Dallas County a sanctuary for undocumented immigrants.

Dallas County Commissioner Elba Garcia, the sponsor of the resolution, is a Latina immigrant herself.

“It’s the American dream. It’s the welcoming community where everybody here can have a chance to go to school and have a better future,” Garcia said. “I don’t care if they have papers or not. I want them to have a good family, good services.”

A crowd of supporters at the meeting cheered for the measure.

The only speaker against it was Dallas City Councilman Lee Kleinman, who said the city of Dallas clearly supports almost all of what the measure says. He took issue with one passage, though, that “…calls on local law enforcement agencies to end nonessential collaborations with Immigration and Customs Enforcement.”

Kleinman said he fears that threatens state and federal funds for the services Garcia wants available to everyone.

“Let’s not put that at risk. I don’t want to be a pawn in a political debate between one party and another party. And when we do things that gore the ox of the state legislature or the federal government, we are asking to have our hands slapped. So please, don’t put us in that position, where we get named a sanctuary city,” Kleinman said.

The measure passed with a 4 to 1 vote of the Dallas County Commissioners Court.

Lone Republican Mike Cantrell voted against it.

“This resolution paints a bulls eye on Dallas County and has the possibility of having far reaching impacts on Dallas County and all of its cities,” Cantrell said.

Supporters of the measure said they hope other local government will follow Dallas County’s lead.

Dallas Independent School District Trustee Jaime Resendez said he will ask the school board to approve a similar resolution.

This story originally appeared 2/7/2017 on NBC 5.