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Immigration

Basics

Immigration has been a powerful force throughout Texas history, from the time of the earliest Spanish settlers, to later white Americans, to the waves of Central Americans in the last decade. It continues to shape our economy and communities today. In 2013, 4.3 million immigrants were living in Texas, making up over 16 percent of our population and over 21 percent of our workforce.

Immigrants come to Texas from all over the world. While 71 percent come from Latin America, almost 20...

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Immigration has been a powerful force throughout Texas history, from the time of the earliest Spanish settlers, to later white Americans, to the waves of Central Americans in the last decade. It continues to shape our economy and communities today. In 2013, 4.3 million immigrants were living in Texas, making up over 16 percent of our population and over 21 percent of our workforce.

Immigrants come to Texas from all over the world. While 71 percent come from Latin America, almost 20 percent are from Asia; almost 4 percent are from Africa; over 4 percent are from Europe; and still others are from Canada, Greenland, or Oceania.

Immigration has become a highly politicized issue, and conversations on the topic can be difficult. But immigration has shaped our community—past and present—and it is important for people of faith to bring our values forward as part of the larger public conversation. With good information along with compassion, love, and respect, we can learn, pray, and take action together.

Immigration is an issue appropriately addressed at the federal level, and not by state legislatures. Nevertheless, our extended border with Mexico makes this issue one of great importance and consequence to Texans. Our interests in immigration are practical and focus on the health and safety of local communities. Employers need to be able to hire qualified workers. Schools need to be able to educate healthy students. Law enforcement officials need to be able to trust residents to report and discuss criminal activity when it occurs. Faith communities insist that all people in Texas be treated equally.

Local charitable organizations such as faith communities can be key players in helping to foster robust community- law enforcement partnerships, but should not be placed in a position of enforcing immigration law. Likewise, faith communities should not be prevented from offering humanitarian assistance to those in need.

 

On Wednesday morning, Chairman Rafael Anchia asked his fellow House members to explain the motivation behind SB 4, the anti-“sanctuary cities” bill. Despite Texas’ near-perfect record of compliance with federal detention requests, the bill has moved quickly through both chambers, and likely will soon become law.

 

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Join in prayer with Texans of all faiths and immigrants as our representatives debate the anti-immigrant bill SB 4. Whether you are in Austin or not, lift your voice for the vision we share—community, hospitality, and freedom from fear for all people.

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On Monday, President Trump signed a revised version of his executive order that temporarily bans immigrants and non-immigrants from six Muslim majority countries for 90 days. The executive order also bans all refugees from entering the country for a period of 120 days.

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This week, the Texas Senate debated Senate Bill 4, which would ban so-called "sanctuary cities" in Texas and withhold state funding from jurisdictions that don't comply with federal immigration detainer requests. 

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The Senate Committee on State Affairs listened to testimony from over 300 people Thursday on Senate Bill 4. Senate Bill 4 is an anti-sanctuary cities bill that gives broad latitude to local law enforcement, blurring the line between federal immigration officers and local law enforcement agencies. The bill also contains harsh punishments for cities and local entities that are determined to have violated the policies laid out in the bill.

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Event Date: 
Sunday, January 29, 2017 - 12:00pm

As legislators prepare for a major hearing on anti-Sanctuary Cities legislation and the President issues multiple executive orders targeting immigrants, refugees, and asylees, more than 150 Bryan-College Station residents came together to learn about the issues and build local advocacy networks.

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On January 25, 2017, Retired Bishop Joel Martinez joined the San Antonio Hispanic Chamber of Commerce and the Texas Mexican-American Legislative Caucus to speak out against new proposed immigration policies. You can watch the entire press conference on Youtube or embedded, below.


To learn about the humanitarian crisis on the border and how faith communities are responding, click here.

Why are some people suggesting that we expedite deportation of children from Central America?

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