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Press Release: Religious Leaders File Amicus in SB 4 Lawsuit

 Faith Leaders File Amicus Brief Supporting Challenge to Texas’s Anti-Immigrant Senate Bill 4


Austin, TX—Bishop C. Andrew Doyle of the Episcopal Diocese of Texas, joined by other faith leaders and Texas Impact, a statewide interfaith organization whose membership includes more than two-dozen Christian, Jewish and Muslim denominational bodies, filed an amicus brief in the U.S. District Court in San Antonio in support of several Texas cities seeking to halt the implementation of Senate Bill 4 (SB 4).  


The faith leaders’ amicus brief argues that the federal court should prevent the state from implementing SB 4 in order to prevent irreparable harm to families and faith communities. SB 4 would break up immigrant families and disrupt the religious lives of people in the immigrant community, allowing racial profiling and hurting public safety by creating a class of persons afraid to interact with law enforcement including victims and witnesses of crimes.


The City of El Cenizo filed suit against the state in May. Since then a number of counties, cities, and organizations have joined the lawsuit. The faith leaders’ amicus adds another voice to organizations such as the Anti-Defamation League that support an injunction against SB 4.


Bishop Doyle said, “SB4 is contrary to the moral imperative that we love our neighbor, welcome the immigrant, and care for the most vulnerable among us. This law represents an anti-immigrant agenda that is born out of fear and promoted out of a sense of privilege, jeopardizing justice for everyone.”


Governor Abbott signed SB 4 into law on May 7. Without a court ordered injunction, SB 4 will take effect September 1, 2017. Throughout the legislative process, faith leaders voiced strong opposition SB 4. The amicus brief is part of their continued efforts to protect families from irreparable state-sanctioned harm.


The parties to the brief have a long history of ministering to all people regardless of immigration status. All have ministries dedicated to assisting migrants. Many also work with local law enforcement regarding their relationships with the immigrant community. Others provide legal aid to undocumented migrants including preparing Powers of Attorney and designating legal guardians for children who return home from school to find their parents deported.


Retired United Methodist Bishop Joel N. Martinez said, “Texans are a hospitable, kind, and welcoming people. We lament this law’s attempt to spread fear among us. Communities of faith will continue to stand with prophetic voices against SB 4.”


The amicus brief was prepared by Jim Harrington, Founder and Director Emeritus of the Texas Civil Rights Project.




Attachment: List of religious leaders co-signing the amicus with Bishop Doyle


The Rt. Rev. C. Andrew Doyle

Bishop, Episcopal Diocese of Texas

1225 Texas St. 

Houston, TX   77002



The Rt. Rev. Michael Vono

Bishop, Episcopal Diocese of the Rio Grande

6400 Coors Blvd NW

Albuquerque, NM 87120



The Rev. Dr. Erik K.J. Gronberg

Bishop, Northern Texas-Northern Louisiana Synod

Evangelical Lutheran Church in America

680 Copper Canyon Rd.

Argyle, TX 76226


The Rev. Dr. Ray Tiemann

Bishop, Southwestern Texas Synod, ELCA

1090 Oestreich Drive

Seguin, TX  78155



The Rev. Dr. Scott Jones


Texas Annual Conference of the United Methodist Church

5215 Main Street

Houston, TX 77002

Phone: 713-521-9383




The Rev. Dr. Sallie Sampsell Watson

General Presbyter, Mission Presbytery

7201 Broadway

San Antonio TX 78209

(210) 826 3296


The Rev. Dr. Joel N. Martinez

Bishop (retired)

Rio Texas Conference of the United Methodist Church

16400 Huebner Road

San Antonio, Texas 78248



The Rev. Chuck Freeman

Executive Director

Texas Unitarian Universalist Justice Ministry 

P. O. Box 170064

Austin, TX 78717


The Rev. Andy Shelton

Christian Church (Disciples of Christ)

Director of Chapel

Brite Divinity School

2855 S University Dr.

Fort Worth, TX 76129

(817) 257-7575


Texas Impact

Bee Moorhead, Executive Director

200 East 30th Street

Austin, Texas 78705



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