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Bishop Edward J. Burns January 10, 2020

Statement of Bishop Edward J. Burns of the Catholic Diocese of Dallas on Governor Abbott's decision to deny refugee resettlement in Texas

Governor Greg Abbot delivered a letter today to U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo announcing Texas’s refusal to accept any additional refugees for fiscal year (FY) 2020.

I am greatly disappointed to learn of Governor Greg Abbott's decision to no longer allow refugees to resettle in Texas.  This is unfortunate given our state's long history in working to resettle those fleeing dangerous, often life-and-death situations in their own countries.  They include many who are escaping religious persecution and violence in other parts of the world.

The Diocese of Dallas has been grateful for the outstanding, compassionate work done by Catholic Charities Dallas in partnership with the United States government to resettle men, women, and children who are desperate to find safety and freedom.  All of the refugees served in this way have been thoroughly screened and approved for resettlement by the Department of Homeland Security Office of Refugee and Resettlement.

While some headlines read “Texas’ Inn for refugees is full”, let’s remember that when Mary and Joseph were told that the inn was full, the innkeeper at least did what he could, he offered his last bit of shelter to them, a simple stable with a manger.  They were not turned away.  Which gives fullness to the words Jesus spoke to his disciples, “For I was a stranger and you welcomed me” (Mt 25:35).

I pray Governor Abbott will reconsider his decision and join the 41 other U.S. governors, including 18 Republican governors, who have provided written consent to continue refugee resettlement in their states. 

Bishop Edward Burns joins his brother bishops around the state in the following:

TCCB Statement on Governor Abbott’s Letter Denying Consent

Governor Greg Abbott’s decision to turn away refugees from the great state of Texas is deeply discouraging and disheartening. While the Texas Catholic Conference of Bishops respects the governor, this decision is simply misguided. It denies people who are fleeing persecution, including religious persecution, from being able to bring their gifts and talents to our state and contribute to the general common good of all Texans. The refugees who have already resettled in Texas have made our communities even more vibrant. As Catholics, an essential aspect of our faith is to welcome the stranger and care for the alien. We use this occasion to commit ourselves even more ardently to work with all people of good will, including our federal, state and local governments, to help refugees integrate and become productive members of our communities.