The Texas Catholic Conference of Bishops was established as the fifth state conference in the United States in 1963, during the Second Vatican Council. The diocesan bishops of Texas are the regular members of the TCCB.
The Texas Catholic Conference advocates on behalf of the Roman Catholic Bishops of Texas for policies and programs that support the life and dignity of every human person from conception through natural death.
Under the guidance of the Texas Bishops, the Texas Catholic Conference of Bishops' staff conducts policy assessments — with the input of diocesan departments, ministries, and agencies—to evaluate public policy needs and opportunities across the state. The Bishops extensively review and discuss the proposals before setting the legislative priorities for the upcoming session. Because of that, our public policy positions are based in Catholic social and moral teaching to uphold the sanctity of life, help the poor and vulnerable, and promote the common good.
The Texas Catholic Conference of Bishops is primarily focused on six areas of public policy, including:
WASHINGTON—President Donald J. Trump today issued an executive order to construct a wall at the U.S./Mexico border, to significantly increase immigrant detention and deportation, and to disregard the judgment of state and local law enforcement on how best to protect their communities.
The U.S./Mexico border, spanning approximately 2000 miles, already has roughly 700 miles of fencing and barrier that was constructed under the George W. Bush administration. In response to the decision to build a wall on the U.S./Mexico border, Bishop Joe Vasquez, Chair of the Committee of Migration and Bishop of the Diocese of Austin, stated:
"I am disheartened that the President has prioritized building a wall on our border with Mexico. This action will put immigrant lives needlessly in harm's way. Construction of such a wall will only make migrants, especially vulnerable women and children, more susceptible to traffickers and smugglers. Additionally, the construction of such a wall destabilizes the many vibrant and beautifully interconnected communities that live peacefully along the border. Instead of building walls, at this time, my brother bishops and I will continue to follow the example of Pope Francis. We will "look to build bridges between people, bridges that allow us to break down the walls of exclusion and exploitation.'"
In regards to the announcement of the planned surge in immigrant detention and deportation forces, Bishop Vasquez added:
"The announced increase in immigrant detention space and immigration enforcement activities is alarming. It will tear families apart and spark fear and panic in communities. While we respect the right of our federal government to control our borders and ensure security for all Americans, we do not believe that a large scale escalation of immigrant detention and intensive increased use of enforcement in immigrant communities is the way to achieve those goals. Instead, we remain firm in our commitment to comprehensive, compassionate, and common-sense reform. We fear that the policies announced today will make it much more difficult for the vulnerable to access protection in our country. Everyday my brother bishops and I witness the harmful effects of immigrant detention in our ministries. We experience the pain of severed families that struggle to maintain a semblance of normal family life. We see traumatized children in our schools and in our churches. The policies announced today will only further upend immigrant families."
Moving forward after the announcement, Bishop Vasquez noted:
"We will continue to support and stand in solidarity with immigrant families. We remind our communities and our nation that these families have intrinsic value as children of God. And to all those impacted by today's decision, we are here to walk with you and accompany you on this journey."