Rusk Co. Commissioners first in region to pass immigration resolution

Rusk Co. Commissioners first in region to pass immigration resolution

RUSK CO. (KYTX) -  Rusk County is now the first in East Texas to pass a resolution on immigration.  CBS 19 had the only camera inside the county courtroom when the decision was made.

It all happened very quickly in the Rusk County Commissioners Court. A few people took the stand to talk about the issue, then there was a motion, a second, and it was approved.  

"I have a resolution from Mr. Hale to approve the resolution. A second from Mr. Howell," said county Judge Joel Hale.

There was no discussion among the commissioners. A resolution to reject housing, education, and medical care those who have crossed the border illegally, passedd unanimously.

"All those in favor? All those opposed? Motion passes."

However, there was much debate before it passed among rusk county citizens, who have very different ideas about what their county has the right to do.

Rusk County Navy veteran Jim Gray is thrilled to see the resolution pass. He says his main concern is healthcare, which he says fellow veterans are not even getting enough of.  

"They're going without needed medical care. Yet any illegal alien today can walk across the border, go to any public hospital in America, walk in, and be taken care of, free," he says.

He also says diseases brought in by people coming over the border illegally are endangering Americans.

"They're not vaccinated over there. We've conquered diseases here in this country and now they're coming back," Gray says.

Lifetime Rusk County resident Johnny Weaver spoke at the meeting against the resolution.  

"Some people just don't have the patience to let the law work like it should. Most people think these are kids that have just come across the border from Mexico. That's not true. They're from Guatemala and Honduras and they're being shipped up here and they are just looking for a better life," he says.

Part of his reasoning has to do with his religious beliefs.

"I sit there and looked up behind the commissioners court and the words, say In God We Trust. My bible teaches me that children are supposed to be taken care of."

He also notes that the state and federal government haven't asked anything of East Texas counties yet.

"There's been no effort what so ever to house them here, and I think that's purely premature," Weaver says.

Premature or not, it has passed.

The Gregg and Upshur County judges have both said they won't bring up the immigration issue in their commissioners courts, and Smith County voted against two resolutions.  They say there is no pressing need at this time, and that resolutions like this may not even be legal.  

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RUSK CO. (KYTX) - The Rusk County Commissioners court becomes first East Texas county to pass immigration resolution against housing people crossing the border illegally.The commissioners decided the county will also not educate or allow those individuals who illegally crossed the border to receive medical care within Rusk County. The resolution is not a law.  Supporters and the opposition acknowledge the federal government has not contacted any East Texas counties about housing people who have illegally crossed the border. 

We have a crew at the commissioners court and will have more information on CBS 19 News.


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