Texas Catholic Voice Oct 30, 2023

In this issue of the Texas Catholic Voice:

  • HB 4 on immigration opposed...
  • Update on parental choice ...
  • Stay of execution for William Speer  ...
  • And more!

A Message from Jennifer Allmon, Executive Director

Immigration reform lacking

Early Thursday morning, the House passed HB 4, which creates a state offense of improper entry to Texas, allowing local and state law enforcement to arrest and detain individuals or “remove” them and order their return to Mexico. The legislation suffers from a host of impracticalities, not the least of which is the state assuming responsibilities the United States Supreme Court has consistently ruled are solely within the purview of the federal government.

Immigration enforcement should be exercised in a way that is targeted, proportional, and humane and HB 4 fails that standard as it is not targeted. You can read our full testimony opposing HB 4 here.

The debate on the floor was extremely heated and emotional after a motion limiting amendments to the bill to the 46 amendments that had already made it to the speaker’s desk. It is not uncommon for amendments to be drafted and submitted during floor debate, and the motion was perceived by some opposing the bill as an affront to the democratic process. Although we are disappointed by the passage of this legislation, we are optimistic the law will be struck down in the federal courts. 

The bishops continue to be dismayed by the politics surrounding the immigration debate at both the federal and state levels. Nonetheless, we will continue to advocate and pray for humanitarian solutions.  

Parental Choice

As mentioned last week, there can be no hearing on the House parental choice bill, HB 1, until the governor adds public-school finance to the special session call. He has yet to do this, and it is starting to look like he will wait until a fourth special session to address both school choice and public-school finance. We look forward to seeing an improved HB 1 filed in the next special session. Regardless of when this session ends and the next one begins, we need to maintain momentum! Please continue to contact your Texas House representatives and urge them to support parental choice. 

William Speer execution stay

We are gratified the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals stayed the execution of Will Speer last Thursday, just hours before he was scheduled to be executed. Mr. Speer’s attorneys allege that during his 2001 trial, evidence was withheld, false testimony was presented, and his defense failed to present evidence of the physical and sexual abuse he suffered as a child. The Court did not rule on the allegations but stayed the execution “pending further order.” We will continue to pray for a permanent stay. 

Happy Halloween to everyone and a blessed All Saints Day and All Souls Day! 

A Prayer for St. Elizabeth's Intercession

Lord God, thank you for blessing
Saint Elizabeth Ann Seton with great faith, hope, joy, and charity.
We pray that her timeless example will guide us.
We look at her humility to help us accept your will for our lives.
Let her grateful heart remind us to thank you
for the joys and challenges of life.
May her courage and perseverance inspire us
To serve others, our church and our country.
Thank you, God, for Elizabeth Ann Bayley Seton,
a loving and glorious saint who is always by our side.
Saint Elizabeth Ann Seton, pray for us. Amen.

Prayer for the Legislature

Please pray for all our public servants and elected officials, including our Governor, Lt. Governor, House Speaker, lawmakers, and their staff, that the Lord may grant them wisdom and prudence to work for the common good of all the people of Texas.

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Will Speer shaking hands with the Warden of Texas Death Row after his baptism.

We are gratified the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals stayed the execution of Will Speer last Thursday, just hours before he was scheduled to be executed.

Upcoming Executions

Nov. 9 – Brent Brewer
Nov. 16 – David Renteria

The Texas bishops ask for clemency for all on death row in our country and pray for the abolition of the death penalty.