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Texas Bishops respond to their governor’s action on refugees

Texas Bishops respond to their governor’s action on refugees

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.

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Paul Powers

The Texas Bishops’ statement was actually issued last September (and was reported by the Café at the time).

Citizenship is a federal matter. The states lack the authority to grant or deny it.

Stanley Martin

I will not speak about illegals today, but I will speak about illegals that been here for years and have raised their families and always been law bidding citizens. Texas should not have a problem of granting these people citizenship papers and take this burden off their shoulders!

David Allen

Lets call these folks something like immigrants without papers. I think that calling them “illegals” starts with a negative concept and just continues to perpetuate it.

Many of us native/indigenous folks could consider all you Europeans “illegals” who sneaked across our borders and stole our lands. But that isn’t a good place to start either.

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