Please join the Catholic bishops of Texas in denouncing SB 4, which would grant broad authorization to state and local law peace officers to enforce current, unreformed federal immigration law. Bishop Joe Vasquez of Austin will be testifying on Thursday, Feb. 2, against this bill.
WHAT YOU CAN DO
Please write or call your state representatives (find your legislators on Who Represents Me?) and tell them you are OPPOSED to SB 4 and all legislation that is “anti-sanctuary city.” Encourage them to support comprehensive immigration reform that:
1. targets and prioritizes dangerous criminals,
2. provides proportional penalties, and
3. treats all immigrants humanely, especially families and unaccompanied children.
Explain that we oppose SB 4 because it does none of these. If it is possible for you to travel to the State Capitol, come testify on Thursday, February 2 at 8:30 a.m. in the Senate Chamber. If you are available to testify, please contact the Texas Catholic Conference of Bishops at 512.339.9882.
The Church does not condone or encourage illegal immigration because it is not good for society or for the migrant, who lives outside the law and in the shadows. Legislation such as SB 4 and other “anti-sanctuary city” bills do not address the need to reform our laws to reflect the reality of migration in the world today and to ensure that the rights and dignity of all people are respected.
Instead, SB 4 will heighten mistrust of local police by minority and immigrant communities. Data show that a cooperative relationship between law enforcement and local communities enhances public safety and reduces crime, but SB 4 would make such a relationship impossible for dutiful peace officers to form. Furthermore, state and local police are not trained to enforce federal law, and, if they are forced to do so, this takes them away from true policing to protect people from violent criminals. In other words, legislators would be broadening the scope of work required without any additional support in personnel or revenue.
Moreover, the revocation of State funds is a threat to community programs which do not pertain to immigration, such as programs for families in subsidized housing. SB 4 would threaten community well-being by reducing the state funds made available to the municipalities that are essential to addressing the needs of their constituents and ensuring the proper functioning of local services to the community.
The Catholic Church recognizes the legitimate role of the U.S. government in intercepting unauthorized migrants who attempt to travel to the United States, but this duty must be exercised in a way that is targeted, proportional, and humane. In this way, federal agents will be able to focus upon those who truly threaten public safety: cartel members, human traffickers, smugglers, and terrorists.