Prominent Houston Faith & Business Leaders Continue to Build Pressure to Act On Immigration Reform as Congress Returns to Washington, D.C.

(Houston, Texas) – Thursday, prominent clergy leaders and respected members of Houston’s business and political community gathered at the University of St. Thomas for an urgent panel discussion to urge Rep. Ted Poe and fellow members of Texas’s delegation in the U.S. House of Representatives to help pass long-overdue, common sense immigration reform.

Dr. Robert Ivany, President of the University of St. Thomas, spoke to our individual obligations as engaged citizens and the university’s obligation as a Catholic institution.

“Here in Houston, the lack of comprehensive immigration reform confronts us daily. We are honored to host this forum to address our duty as responsible citizens and as faithful Catholics who are committed to the fair and just treatment of our community.”

Scott Braddock, known for dynamic interviews with politicians and activists from across the political spectrum, moderated the discussion and urged the diverse set of panelists to describe the impact of America’s broken immigration system on Houston and the costs of Congress’ current inaction.

“A sensible immigration bill is vital for our city, state, and nation,” said Stan Marek, a leading figure in Houston’s business community and President and CEO of the Marek Family of Companies. “An estimated 2.1 million undocumented reside within our Texas borders and it's time they were brought out of the shadows. Too many are working in low paying jobs and in a sense being held hostage because of their status. We need to demand now that our members in the House take seriously their obligation to pass a bill into the Conference Committee.”

Brining to bear the teachings of their respective faith traditions, prominent pastors from diverse backgrounds echoed the call for comprehensive immigration reform and demanded an end to the exploitation of aspiring Americans.

“Every day, Houston pastors encounter children and young adults whose families have been torn apart by America’s failed immigration system,” said Senior Pastor Tim Moore of Walk Worthy Baptist Church. “We will not be silent while these anti-family policies wreak havoc in our communities. We urge Rep. Poe and fellow members of Texas' Congressional delegation to examine the tenets of their faith and give us a vote on comprehensive immigration reform with an earned pathway to citizenship.”

Seeing firsthand the impact of Houston’s broken immigration system on local families and parishioners, Pastor Diane McGehee , Director of the Center for Missional Excellence at Texas Annual Conference of the United Methodist Church, said "We need Congress to pass immigration reform right now that protects immigrant families and workers, and includes a path to citizenship. The system we have right now is broken, hopelessly complex, and devastates hard working immigrants who come here to build a better life for themselves and their families. Even I, a licensed attorney, can't navigate it without help and great expense. We can and must do better. How we treat our fellow human beings as made in the image of God is central to our faith as Christians."

Bob Price, a well-known political commentator and blogger for TexasGOPVote, said “Immigration reform can no longer be ignored by our government. If we are to be a nation of laws, our laws must be just, and they must serve the needs of our people, our families and our communities. This is the right time for us to move forward on this issue and solve a problem that has been haunting us for many years.”

As the immigration reform movement continues to gain steam in Houston and across the United States, Members of Congress need to act now to reform our broken system. Eleven million aspiring American citizens must not be trapped in the shadows any longer, and immigrant families must be freed from the constant threat of being torn apart. The faith, business, labor and law enforcement communities stand united and will not rest until our neighbors, parishioners, customers, students, and friends are brought out of the shadows and given the opportunity to fully engage in America’s economy and democracy.

Make sure to check back as there is more to follow on this event. 

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