The same group of citizens that fought back an effort by their county government to establish a housing facility for illegal immigrants in their community has won again—this time in the state’s capital.
Led by local leaders close to State Rep. Byron Cook (R-Corsicana), local officials requested that the state surrender control of a Texas Juvenile Justice Department (TJJD) facility that shuttered three years ago. Lined up to lease the newly acquired property from the City of Corsicana and Navarro County was the New York based non-profit, Cayuga Centers.
Once leased, Cayuga Centers planned on converting the facility into a holding station for up to 800 illegal immigrants at a time as they await judicial proceedings.
Local citizens remained ardently opposed to the center and successfully convinced their county officials to vote to kill the project. But despite public pressure and citizen outrage Corsicana officials decided to continue pursuing the project.
Today in Austin, a small group of the government employees and office holders asked TJJD to transfer the facility to the City of Corsicana. At the same time, a bus full of citizens led by local Tea Party and Republican leaders spoke out against the transfer.
“Mayor McClanahan and the City Council many no longer care about the rule of law, but the citizens of Texas still do,” said one citizen opposed to the transfer. “We the people should not be complicit in allowing the federal government to harbor illegal immigrants in our community or be bullied by government officials who say they know what is best for us.”
Ultimately, the citizens were victorious with TJJD voting 9-1 against the city’s request to bring illegal immigrants to Corsicana. The effort drew strong praise from State Sen. Brian Birdwell (R-Waco) who ardently opposed the facility as well.
“Since the moment my support for this project was first solicited, I have forcefully and publicly expressed my opposition—as have an overwhelming majority of Corsicana and Navarro County citizens,” said Birdwell in a statement. “This vote was nothing short of a resounding victory for those citizens, ensuring that their diverse voices were no longer ignored. I applaud the hard work of so many individuals willing to stand up for what was right…”
Corsicana’s citizens should celebrate this win as a major victory in which the voice of the people triumphed over government. However, rather than resting on their laurels they should roll up their sleeves and demand accountability from the local political leaders who lined up against them.