By Alba Jaramillo, Co-Executive Director, ILJ Network
Rev. Lyssette.Pérez, President, MARCHA
Immigration Law & Justice Network, a national network of 19 immigration legal service providers, and MARCHA (Methodists Associated Representing the Cause of Hispanic/Latinx Americans, the official Hispanic/Latinx caucus of the United Methodist Church and the Methodist Church of Puerto Rico, condemn recent anti-immigration legislation in Texas and Florida.
On Thursday, May 10th, the Texas House of Representatives passed HB 7, which allows for the creation of a “Border Force,” an extension of the Texas Rangers that would be dedicated to arresting undocumented migrants.
HB 7 would make it a misdemeanor to cross into Texas without lawful immigration status, resulting in a prison sentence of one to two years for a second attempt. The proposal could also result in life sentences for migrants previously convicted of a felony.
In essence, this bill proposes the creation of a state border patrol agency while creating a codified system of racism.
On July 1st, Florida will begin to enforce SB 1718. Under this law:
- Employers will be penalized for hiring undocumented immigrants.
- Out-of-state driver licenses will no longer be valid unless additional proof of authorized immigration status is presented.
- Hospitals that receive Medicaid will be required to collect patients’ immigration status.
- People transporting undocumented immigrants across state lines will be charged with a third-degree felony.
Lastly, $12 million of the general revenue fund will be spent on busing migrants arbitrarily out of state.
ILJ Network and MARCHA denounce the extreme anti-immigrant bills endorsed by elected officials in Texas and Florida. The bills perpetrate hatred and xenophobia while failing to provide solutions for undocumented immigrants, refugees, and asylum seekers who need the protection of our nation’s laws.
As a network of legal service providers and people of faith, we know these bills are cruel, immoral, and unnecessary. Therefore, WE JOINTLY CALL FOR:
- Faith communities in states with anti-immigrant policies, such as Florida and Texas, to protest and press elected officials to reverse and refrain from endorsing policies that separate and criminalize immigrant families.
- Hold elected officials accountable for perpetrating hate through racist legislation.
- Faith leaders in houses of worship and faith-based organizations to educate their constituents about harmful immigration policies that are not in line with our spiritual obligations to love our neighbors and provide aid.
- Coordinate efforts to display radical hospitality to immigrants.
Our biggest sin is remaining mute, as silence makes us complicit in this evil. We must join forces to achieve justice for our immigrant community.