All the current Episcopal bishops in all six dioceses in the state of Texas have issued a response to Gov. Abbott’s action regarding resettlement and aid to refugees.
Texans are not known for being fearful, but for their generous hospitality and big-hearted welcoming. In fact “Texas” means friendship. Texas is great precisely because of the great diversity of backgrounds represented in its people. Therefore, we are extremely concerned that Governor Greg Abbott has announced his intention to pull the state of Texas out of the U.S. refugee resettlement program.
Refugees will still lawfully and peaceably resettle in Texas, but the coordinating role that the state has played will be facilitated instead by a designated non-profit organization. We appreciate the Texas state government’s work to cooperate throughout the transition to facilitate uninterrupted care for the refugees and trust the governor’s word that this will go smoothly.
Refugee service providers will work closely with the state of Texas and local communities during the next 120 days to ensure that the transition does not put refugee families at risk of losing critical services. Already, refugees only receive short-term services to help them integrate and rebuild their lives. Local communities and organizations that assist refugees are committed to making sure that there are no gaps in services, but with just four months, this will still be a tremendous effort. These groups will continue their important work of welcoming and supporting refugees in their new homes.
Texas leads the nation in refugee resettlement, and a decision to pull out of the refugee resettlement program after nearly 40 years of peaceful participation is inconsistent with our proud history of welcoming refugees.
More than that, as Christians, we follow a Lord who calls us to care for those who suffer and to show our love for God by loving our neighbor. Our Scriptures teach us that in caring for “the least among us” we are caring for Jesus, and that “Perfect love casts out fear.” We stand in the Abrahamic tradition that insists on generous hospitality toward strangers and sojourners.
The Bishops signing the statement were:
The Rt. Rev. C Andrew Doyle, Bishop Diocesan, Diocese of Texas
The Rt. Rev. Dena Harrison, Bishop Suffragan Diocese of Texas
The Rt. Rev. Jeff Fisher, Bishop Suffragan Diocese of Texas
The Rt. Rev. Michael Vono, Bishop Diocesan, Diocese of the Rio Grande
The Rt. Rev. Gary Lillibridge, Bishop Diocesan, West Texas
The Rt. Rev. David Reed, Bishop Coadjutor, Diocese of West Texas
The Rt. Rev. Scott Mayer, Bishop Diocesan, Diocese of Northwest Texas; Bishop Provisional, Diocese of Fort Worth
The Rt. Rev. Rayford High, Jr., Bishop Assisting, Diocese of Fort Worth
The Rt. Rev. Sam Hulsey, Bishop Assisting, Diocese of Fort Worth
The Rt. Rev. George Sumner, Bishop Diocesan, Diocese of Dallas
Read a statement from Episcopal Migration Ministries.
Read a news release from Refugee Services of Texas.