Six months after 85 Spanish-speaking leaders from twelve immigrant parishes participated in two-day leadership development training co-sponsored by the Catholic Campaign for Human Development (CCHD), Interfaith Education Fund and Dallas Area Interfaith, leaders negotiated ground breaking changes in police department policy in order to engender greater trust between police and immigrants. For the first time in North Texas, immigrants without state ID will be allowed to use parish identification cards to identify themselves with Farmers Branch, Carrollton and Dallas Police Department officers.
Sunday evening, hundreds of leaders were turned away from a sanctuary already overflowing with 1,500 Dallas Area Interfaith leaders at Mary Immaculate Catholic Church in Farmers Branch. Nine years ago, the city of Farmers Branch was best-known for passing the first anti-immigrant law in Texas, which included fines for landlords renting to undocumented immigrants. The police department paid a price in community trust -- one motivation for publicly pledging to accept parish IDs.
Catholic Bishop Edward Burns drew the most applause when he announced, "Jesus said whoever welcomes the stranger, welcomes me. The Church as the mother will do whatever we can for the members of our immigrant community."
This approval will help the estimated 231,000 immigrants who call Dallas home.
[Photo Credits: (top) Dallas Morning News, (bottom) Catholic Diocese of Dallas]
Hundreds Meet to Discuss Immigration, Parish ID Card, Texas Catholic
Live Stream of Assembly, Catholic Diocese of Dallas