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TEC responds to Texas decision to no longer accept refugees

TEC responds to Texas decision to no longer accept refugees

From the Episcopal Church Office of Government Relations


Statement of The Episcopal Church on Texas Governor Greg Abbott’s Decision to Reject Refugee Resettlement

The Episcopal Church condemns Gov. Abbott’s decision to reject refugee resettlement in 2020. Texas has long served as a strong partner in the work of welcoming some of the most vulnerable individuals in the world to peace, safety, and a bright future. Texas Episcopalians have also given generously of their time, talents, and treasure to help our refugee brothers and sisters rebuild their lives in the Lone Star State.

Texans have long been known for their southern hospitality and generosity of spirit. Additionally, many Texans are people of strong faith who take seriously the Gospel call to welcome the stranger and to help those who are fleeing religious persecution and violence. The Episcopal community in Texas shares these values. Through Refugee Services of Texas (RST) and Interfaith Ministries for Greater Houston (IMGH), both affiliates of Episcopal Migration Ministries, our church serves refugees, asylees, individuals with Special Immigrant Visas, Cuban-Haitian entrants, Central American minors, survivors of human trafficking, and other vulnerable populations. In addition, RST and IMGH work to facilitate partnerships with host communities to build a welcoming environment.

Refugees bring immense value to communities throughout Texas. They have invigorated the economy, brought innovation to small towns, and made communities stronger through their contributions to public life and cultural institutions. Refugees in Texas are students, entrepreneurs, dedicated employees, customers, elected officials, and community leaders – just like us. They are us.

The Episcopal Church urges Gov. Abbott to reconsider his decision and express support for continuing Texas’s long tradition of welcoming refugees. Refugee resettlement embodies the Texan spirit and our faithful commitment to assisting the least among us. We encourage all people to stand in the breach for our refugee brothers and sisters who seek a haven of peace and renewal in the United States.

About Episcopal Migration Ministries:

Episcopal Migration Ministries (EMM) lives the call of welcome by supporting refugees, immigrants, and the communities that embrace them as they walk together in The Episcopal Church’s movement to create loving, liberating, and life-giving relationships rooted in compassion. EMM’s desire to honor the inherent value of human connection brings communities together to love their neighbors as themselves.

To directly support EMM and its life-changing work, visit or text ‘EMM’ to 41444 (standard messaging and data may rates apply).


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Kenneth Knapp

I don’t have enough familiarity with the issue to have an opinion on what I think the Governor of Texas ought to do other than listen to his constituents. It looks to me that Episcopalians comprise about one half of one percent of the population of Texas so I suspect he isn’t looking to PECUSA for guidance.

John Rabb

Why does the use of a metaphor attract more attention than the tragic treatment of vulnerable people?

Simon Burris

(1) The fact that a comment is made about the use of an image does not mean that attention is not being paid to other aspects of the writing.

(2) The particular imagery used is striking in that it presents the authors as thinking of themselves as standing in the breach of a wall of a besieged city, trying to keep the enemy out. This image seems more apt for those who consider immigrants to be the equivalent of invaders, than for those who wish to welcome them as friends. Therefore the use of the image seems to undermine the position of the authors, and should be removed in subsequent publication.

(3) Apart from the specific problems of the “breach” image in this context, the appearance of any such mistake in an official published statement tends to undermine the persuasive power of the authors, at least in the estimation of genuinely careful readers.

(4) Being an Episcopalian myself, I care how TEC presents itself to the world, and I would prefer that it not make itself look semi-literate. Serious Christians are people of the Book, people of the Word, and that includes according written language respect. As a recent American president has put it, “Words have meaning.”

John Rabb

It i so tragic, and contrary to the Gospel, for people claiming to be faithful disciples of Christ not grasping the demands of Matthew 25; that what we do for the least of our brothers and sisters we do for Christ. The great Dorothy Day was once asked if serving the poor gave her satisfaction, she responded that it did not matter because the Gospel demands serving the poor and those most vulnerable. Immigrants are now twice oppressed: from the places where they flee in fear to the places where they come for refuge. Is there no balm in Gilead?

mike geibel

You reserve no place in Heaven for condemning others who fail to pay the costs of your compassion. It’s like voting to raise someone else’s taxes—courage of conviction is voting to raise your own taxes. Perhaps the TEC’s “condemnation” of the State of Texas would carry more provenance if the Church withdrew all of its tax exemptions and meaningfully started contributing to the spiraling costs of hospitals, social services, schools, police, and housing for the poor and indigent.

Simon Burris

Does the author of the statement understand the imagery of the metaphor “stand in the breach”?

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