Church World Service Condemns Anti-Asylum Texas Policy Proposals, Calls for Administration to Intervene 

November 14, 2023

Washington, D.C.—Church World Service today condemned inhumane policy proposals on the verge of passage in the Texas legislature. Governor Greg Abbott called a 4th special session in the state legislature to advance the proposals that would grant Texas law enforcement and state courts the power to detain and deport people suspected of entering the United States at a location other than a point of entry. CWS notes that the bills not only undermine due process and contradict federal law, but present fertile ground for discrimination, racism, bigotry, and violence. 

“For decades, Texas has welcomed families fleeing violence, persecution, and desperation from around the globe. These families have created businesses, joined our congregations, established roots, contributed to the local economy, and become our neighbors, all while trying to make Texas the best state in the union. Likewise, immigrants, refugees, and asylum seekers have found the state to be a place of welcome, where they can raise their children in safety and provide a future where they realize their dreams and enrich the greater community at the same time,” said Meredith Owen, Director of Policy and Advocacy at Church World Service. “The legislature of the Lone Star State must recognize the contributions of all of its people, and summarily strike down these prejudicial and xenophobic proposals. The fact is that Governor Abbott is immorally leveraging vulnerable populations to drum up political support and send a message of exclusion; if passed, these proposals will significantly harm his state and all the people that call it home.”

“Texas communities have shown us time and again that they are willing and ready to welcome new neighbors. Texas is made of immigrants, and has been for decades; and that history has made our state better.” said Kimberly Haynes, CWS Regional Director, Southwest “The only thing this policy will do is to further harm those who are already vulnerable, and in turn, leave a scar of oppression and marginalization that is not indicative of the values of the communities that truly make up our state. Governor Abbott has tried, for years, to sow fear and chaos in our communities. Our state, and those seeking safety, deserve far better.”

These proposals redirect state resources away from community services and toward wrongful border wall construction, border militarization and criminalization of migrants, Operation Lone Star that targets our immigrant neighbors for arrest, jail, and deportation, and violates Texans’ values to welcome the sojourner. 

The current proposals are yet another example of the cruel and inhumane border policies that have come out of Greg Abbott’s tenure as governor. Since its launch in Spring of 2021, Abbott’s Operation Lone Star (OLS) initiative has inflicted unimaginable harm on those seeking protection at the southern border. Reports of state troopers pushing migrant children back into the Rio Grande, barbed wire buoys being placed in rivers, and families being separated from their children have all surfaced during the implementation of OLS. Lawsuits have been filed due to the injustice of the policy. CWS calls on the Biden administration to immediately take action to combat Governor Abbott’s escalating and deadly actions at the border.

For more information or to speak with Owen or Haynes, contact