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
The Rev. Dr. Sallie Sampsell Watson
General Presbyter, Mission Presbytery
San Antonio TX 78209
(210) 826 3296
The Rev. Dr. Joel N. Martinez
Rio Texas Conference of the United Methodist Church
16400 Huebner Road
San Antonio, Texas 78248
The Rev. Chuck Freeman
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
Bee Moorhead, Executive Director
200 East 30th Street
Austin, Texas 78705