TMO, Interfaith coalition discuss Presidential Executive Order

January 27, 2015

HOUSTON — The Metropolitan Organization (TMO) and religious leaders of an interfaith coalition of the Houston area met Jan. 12 to respond to an executive order regarding Deferred Action for Parents of American and Lawful Permanent Residents (DAPA). 

Daniel Cardinal DiNardo, along with Bishop Janice Riggle Huie (Texas Annual Conference of the United Methodist Church), Rabbi David Lyon (Congregation Beth Israel), Bishop Michael Rinehart (Gulf Coast Synod, Evangelical Lutheran Church in America), Bishop Andrew Doyle (Episcopal Diocese of Texas), Rev. Mike Cole (General Presbyter at New Covenant Presbytery), Rev. John Ogletree (First Metropolitan Church) and others met in the sanctuary of St. Paul's United Methodist Church. 

Bishop Huie said, "As religious leaders, we will respond to the President's Executive Order on Deferred Action For the Parents of American Citizens and continue to call for comprehensive immigration reform legislation." 

Cardinal DiNardo added, "We will be holding educational sessions throughout the greater Houston area to help people understand who is eligible, what documents will likely be required and to continue to warn against unscrupulous persons who will take people's money under the false pretense of offering legitimate help."

In 2008, the coalition issued a joint statement of shared faith principles which they believe should inform and shape the needed changes to our immigration laws. They have used and continue to use these principles to evaluate any proposed immigration reform.

These principles include: 
• Family unity; 
• Protection of workers and an efficient and adequate process for documented entry of new workers; 
• A viable path to citizenship; and 
• Restoration of due process procedures and reformation of deportation procedures consistent with the honoring of basic human rights.

TMO is an organization of institutions dedicated to developing power and leadership among citizens in order to transform the city. The group seeks to create relational power that can build and strengthen each member institution as well as shape public policy for the common good.

TMO was formed in 1980 to give a voice to people who are usually excluded from major decisions that affect their lives.

Texas Catholic Conference statement on Immigration Executive Order

The Texas Catholic Conference expresses appreciation for governmental actions that take concrete steps to repair the nation's broken immigration system. While President Obama's recent executive action on immigration is being debated on various grounds, it provides reprieve to some hard-working, yet undocumented, migrant families who have lived too long in the legal shadows. 

Catholic parishes have witnessed the unnecessary damage that a fractured immigration system has had on our communities, and the Texas Catholic Conference has long advocated for both the U.S. Congress and the White House to find responsible solutions. We therefore urge Congress and the President to work together to enact permanent reforms to the nation's immigration system for the best interests of the nation and the immigrants who seek refuge here. President Obama's executive order is only a step that must be carefully implemented and monitored.

It is not a substitute for comprehensive, long-term immigration reform. Our flawed immigration system can only be repaired through a commitment to moral principles: ensuring family unity, safeguarding border security, and addressing the economic, social, and criminal causes of migration. Above all, any reform should include a clear and attainable path to legal residency or citizenship. 

The Texas Catholic Conference urges all Americans to pray that leaders of both parties be guided to work together toward a more comprehensive immigration reform effort. Respect for human life and dignity demands that our national leaders put people before politics. The Texas Catholic Conference does not take political sides; we take the side of vulnerable families and children. We stand ready to work with both parties and our Texas Congressional Delegation to achieve a comprehensive solution.