In 2010, TMO launched the Interfaith Campaign for Humane Immigration Reform due to the organizing efforts and relationships built with leaders, organizers, and Judicatory Leaders across the city. The Cardinal, Bishops, Rabbis, and denominational leaders in the greater Houston Area came together to agree on common principles of immigration reform, which they named ‚The Houston Interfaith Principles for Humane Immigration Reform. These principles and the immigration campaign were made public at a Clergy Convocation in January 2010 through a press conference, prayer service, and action meeting held by the Judicatory leaders with over 300 clergy. This campaign has been covered by the Houston Chronicle and The New York Times. TMO has gained national recognition for creating a model of Interfaith Collaboration. TMO and judicatory leaders plan to begin 2011 with another interfaith immigration prayer service where we will encourage the humane treatment of immigrants, continue the campaign of education and prayer on the important moral issue of immigration, and remind people of faith that we must continue to find for immigration not only at a national level but more importantly at a state and local level.
Houston Interfaith Statement on Humane Immigration Reform
We call on Congress to enact humane and equitable immigration reform in 2013 and commit to legislation that:
- Upholds family unity as a priority of all immigration policies
- Creates a process for undocumented immigrants to earn their legal status and eventual citizenship
- Protects workers and provides efficient channels of entry for new migrant workers
- Facilitates immigrant integration
- Restores due process protections and reform detention policies
- Aligns the enforcement of immigration laws with humanitarian values
- Recognizes Immigration as a Matter of Human Rights
Religious Leaders Call for Inclusive Immigration Reform, Houston Public Media (2017)
Houston Clergy Urge Lawmakers to Defeat Immigration Enforcement Plan, Houston Chronicle (2013)
Enforcement is Next Task for Law on Wage Theft, New York Times (2011)
Houston Clergy, Politicians Gather for Immigration Prayer Service, Houston Chronicle (2011)
Houston's Clergy Unites to Urge Support for Immigration Reform, New York Times (2010)
Todos que residen en los EEUU, inclusive los inmigrantes indocumentados , tienen ciertos derechos constitucionales. Los siguientes videos repasan qué hacer si los agentes de ICE (Immigration and Customs Enforcement Agents) te visitan en su hogar, su trabajo o en público.
Resumen de sus Derechos:
1) No son obligados a abrir la puerta de su hogar
2) Tienes el derecho de mantener silencio
3) Tienes el derecho de hablar con un abogado
All people living in the United States, including undocumented immigrants, have certain U.S. Constitutional rights. The following videos discuss what to do if Immigration and Customs Enforcement Agents (ICE) visit your home, place of work, or stop you in public.
Summary of Rights:
1) You do not have to open the door to your home
2) You have the right to remain silent
3) You have the right to speak to a lawyer
March 4, 2017
Recalling that “for the last 11 years we have met, prayed, studied and spoken in unity over the issue of comprehensive immigration reform,” TMO clergy and Texas Bishops held a joint press conference calling on Congress to pass comprehensive immigration reform with a path towards citizenship. Catholic Cardinal Daniel DiNardo stood with United Methodist Bishop Scott Jones, Lutheran Bishop Michael Rinehart, Episcopal pastor Rev. Uriel Osnaya, Baptist pastor Rev. John Ogletree and other clergy in a public showing against the deportation and separation of immigrant families.
Faith Leaders Press for Immigration Reform, Houston Chronicle
Religious Leaders Call for Inclusive Immigration Reform, Houston Public Media
February 03, 2017
TMO leader Fr. Fred Clarkson, with the Network of Texas IAF Organizations and the Texas Catholic Conference of Bishops, spoke in opposition to Senate Bill 4 which would punish so-called 'sanctuary cities' by withholding state funding and forcing law enforcement to act as immigration agents.
Said Bishop Joe Vásquez, on behalf of the Texas Catholic Conference of Bishops, “We reject the premise that persons who are merely suspected of being undocumented immigrants should be rounded up by state and local police agents.”
“This bill requires local police and sheriff’s deputies to enforce federal immigration laws as if their job of maintaining public order and the public safety weren’t difficult enough as it is,” said John Elford, senior pastor of University United Methodist Church and member of Austin Interfaith.
Press Release, Texas Catholic Conference of Bishops
May 24, 2015
Leaders from Texas IAF organizations across the state, including TMO leader Rev. John Ogletree of First Metropolitan Church of Houston, drove into Austin for the bi-annual legislative session to fight Senate Bill 185. This bill would have outlawed sanctuary cities in Texas and threatened local efforts to build better relations between police and communities. The intervention of Texas IAF leaders, including testimony by Rev. Ogletree and Fr. Carlos Zuniga (Valley Interfaith), and allies, succeeded in killing the bill.
In photo, Fr. Carlos Zuniga of Valley Interfaith and Rev. John Ogletree of TMO testify before the Senate Subcommittee on Border Security.
January 12, 2015
Days before a planned House effort which could impact the latest executive action program initiated by the President, Houston judicatory leaders and TMO held a joint press conference urging Congress to do the opposite - to expand on the action and pass comprehensive immigration reform. Bishops and religious leadership from Catholic, Protestant, Jewish and Muslim faiths banded together to deliver the joint statement.
Dinardo Agradece la Accion Ejecutiva Pero Dice Que No Es Suficiente, La Voz de Houston
Talleres Informativos Sobre la Accion Deferida, Univision Houston 45
July 29, 2014
TMO clergy and bishops from major religious denominations in Houston held a press conference calling on the President and Congress to "welcome" unaccompanied children from Central America and guarantee protections afforded to them in the Trafficking Victims Act of 2008. Religious leaders from Lutheran, Catholic, Episcopal, Methodist, Presbyterian, COGIC and Baptist denominations were vocal about the need to stop speedy deportations, given the violent conditions children are fleeing. Nineteen local clergy signed a letter to the President, including former Catholic Archbishop Joseph Fiorenza, Episcopal Bishops C. Andrew Doyle and Jeff Fisher, Lutheran Bishop Michael Rinehart, General Presbyter Mike Cole of the Presbytery of the New Covenant and Bishop Rufus Kyles Jr. of the Church of God in Christ.
Rev. John Ogletree, pastor of First Metropolitan Church, argued that "Houston is a hospitable ‚Ä¶compassionate city. We demonstrated that when we opened our hearts and homes to those suffering from Hurricane Katrina. We should do that again."
[Photo Credit: Billy Smith II, Houston Chronicle]
November 4, 2013
Diana stood before the cameras and the microphones and in a quiet, nervous voice began to tell her story about coming to America. The 18-year-old, who will be graduating from high school this year as a member of the National Honor Society, spoke in perfect English. She spoke effusively about her love of Houston and Texas and America. If you were to meet her on the street, you would not have the slightest suspicion she had not been born in this country.
Full Article, Houston Chronicle
November 3, 2013
Houston clergy joined dozens of immigration reform supporters Wednesday to call for Congress to reject legislation that would permit tougher penalties and enforcement for an illegal presence in the United States.
At a news conference organized by The Metropolitan Organization, leaders also urged those who oppose the SAFE Act to contact their representatives in Congress and ask for comprehensive immigration reform...
Full Article, Houston Chronicle
April 24, 2013
Calling for humane immigration reform grounded in civil and human rights, some 40 Houston-area clergy came to the bimah at Congregation Beth Israel on April 23 to urge support for a bipartisan Senate immigration bill. In a press conference organized by The Metropolitan Organization, the religious leaders applauded the Border Security, Economic Opportunity, and Immigration Modernization Act of 2013 (S. 744), the first major immigration proposal in several years, aimed at comprehensively overhauling the nation's immigration laws....
Full Article, Jewish Herald-Voice
Sacerdotes, ministros, pastores, obispos y rabinos de diferentes denominaciones religiosas de iglesias de esta ciudad lanzaron un llamado a Washington. Los religiosos piden una reforma migratoria integral que respete la dignidad y derechos de cada persona. Dirigentes de iglesias lanzaron su pedido este martes desde el altar de la Sinagoga Beth Israel de esta ciudad...
Full Article, La Semana de News
When Gabriela Nieto was brought to this country, she was young and already dreaming of becoming a teacher. Only one semester away from graduation from the University of Houston-Downtown, she can accept a teaching position, now that her DACA application has been approved.
Religious leaders gathered from across Houston, including Cardinal Daniel DiNardo, archbishop of Galveston-Houston, Bishop Janice Riggle Huie of the Texas Conference of the United Methodist Church, and Rabbi David Lyon of Congregation Beth Israel said the highest priority should create a process for undocumented immigrants like her to earn legal status and eventual citizenship. [Photo Credit: Nick De La Torre, Houston Chronicle]
Full Article, Houston Chronicle
TMO Responds to Bi-Partisan Senate Immigration Bill, Texas Catholic Herald News
Clergy Urge Support for Immigration Reform, Jewish Herald Voice
April 22, 2013
Stan Marek, of Marek Brothers Construction, stood alongside Texas judicatory leaders in support of immigration reform at a press conference organized by TMO. Marek asserted that if the legislature does not pass immigration reform this year, that President Obama should instate it through other administrative means, as was done with Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals. In photo, Stan Marek speaks out for immigration reform. [Photo Credit: Olivia P. Tallet]
Full Article, La Voz de Houston [Spanish]
October 28, 2011
For two years, Diego Gala, a Mexican immigrant in the country illegally, worked five days a week cleaning a private school for less than minimum wage. His employer refused to pay him overtime even when he was forced to work on the weekends. Mr. Gala did not speak up, fearing deportation if he reported his boss...
Full Article, New York Times
October 18, 2011
More than a dozen prominent Houston faith leaders were joined by Rep. Shelia Jackson Lee and Rep. Al Green at an interfaith service, where they prayed for immigration reform as a way to protect family unity, protect workers and uphold their rights, the Episcopal Diocese of Texas reported.
Full Article, Houston Chronicle