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AUSTIN, Texas (ChurchMilitant.com) - In line with state Democrats, a Texas bishop is opposing a package of bills intended to strengthen border security.
"It saddens me," said Bp. Mark Seitz of El Paso in response to three Texas bills — House Bill 4, House Bill 6 and Senate Bill 4. These measures form a comprehensive approach to securing the Texas border.
"I'm very disappointed in the narrative that is being promoted to this day that people who are fleeing to our border are a threat to us in the first place. It's just a tremendous misunderstanding of what's happening," continued Seitz, who also serves as the chairman for the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops' Committee on Migration.
Seitz's comments mirror those of state Democrats who vehemently oppose these legislative efforts, which proponents maintain are in the interest of strengthening border security to protect Texas and the rest of the United States.
Introduced by Republican lawmakers in the Lone Star State, HB4 addresses the legal and enforcement aspects of illegal border crossings. HB6 focuses on the physical infrastructure to prevent these crossings, and SB4 targets the criminal networks involved in human smuggling.
HB4 and HB6 have passed the Texas House and are awaiting consideration in the state senate, while SB4 has passed both legislative chambers and is awaiting action from the governor.
In a moment caught on video and shared on social media, state Rep. Armando Lucio Walle, D-Houston, confronted state Rep. Cody Harris, R-Palestine, and other Republicans during a break in an emotional outburst:
I have been sitting there my whole g****** time listening to y'all m**********s. It pisses me off. None of y'all m***********s know this s***. You're my friend; I love you. But this f****** hurts. The s*** that happens on this g****** floor hurts. You're my friend, man, I love you, but this f****** hurts.
The s*** that happens on this g****** floor hurts. I can't go hang out with my, I can't drive my brother, my cousin, OK. I can't take them anywhere, bro? I can't go to a boda [wedding], I can't go to a baptism because my community is being attacked?
Y'all don't understand the s*** that y'all do hurts our community. It hurts us personally, bro. It hurts us to our f****** core. And y'all don't understand that. You don't live in our f****** skin. Y'all don't, man. And that's what pisses me off.
Another Democrat, Rep. Joe Moody, D-El Paso, argued that SB6 will not prevent criminal organizations that drive human smuggling on the border. "Ultimately, if your goal is to nail the big-time traffickers and smugglers with these provisions, you are not going to get them; this law will not touch them," Moody said. "What this law will get is the 20-year-old kid who took $200 from the kind of person you don't say no to anyway, to drive someone from one side of town to the other."
In tandem with these Democratic thoughts on the matter, Seitz posited, "We are creating much of the crisis that people are speaking about because we're not allowing those who are in the asylum process, who have been paroled legally into this country, to work while they're waiting."
"There's so many jobs out there, and these immigrants are so frustrated because they would love to support their family," he added. "They're not looking for a handout. They're just looking for a chance to support their family and security and peace."
In response to HB6, in which the House approved $1.5 billion for Gov. Greg Abbott's efforts to build border barriers, aiming for an additional 50 miles of barrier and maintenance of the planned 40 miles, Seitz claimed the lawmakers were wasting money.
"Yet, we're spending billions of dollars on a state level for things that really have little to no impact on immigration," he said. "It's just very sad to see that money thrown away," he alleged.
Bishop Seitz's recent statements are part of a broader trend, highlighting the USCCB's consistent support for Democratic-aligned issues, ranging from open borders to restrictions on free speech. This clear alignment has led to the establishment of the Deposit of Faith Coalition, a group dedicated to challenging and counteracting the bishops' agenda.
In an ongoing effort to confront this trend, the Deposit of Faith Coalition will hold a press conference at the Four Seasons Hotel Baltimore on Nov. 14, 2023. Timed to coincide with the U.S. bishops' annual meeting, this event aims to highlight issues and counter misinformation associated with the climate change narrative endorsed by the bishops.
The conference will showcase a panel of experts, including a Nobel Prize laureate, offering an alternative perspective to the bishops' Democratic-aligned stance, a crucial endeavor as the 2024 election season draws near.