Houston Matters

Coalition of Houston Pastors Renews Call To Secure Border

Their call comes as President Trump headed to Texas to visit officials at the Southern border.

In this Aug. 11, 2017, photo, a U.S. Customs and Border Patrol vehicle passes along a section of border levee wall in Hidalgo, Texas.

A group of Houston pastors has renewed their call for greater border security and immigration reform, saying they support President Trump's goal to secure the border.

"I think what the President is really trying to get across is that we have got to secure the border and we gotta do it with the first priority over everything else and we agree with that," Pastor Hernan Castano, Director of Hispanic Church Development within the US Pastor Council, told Houston Matters.

The US Pastor Council was started as the Houston Area Pastor Council in 2003 by a group of interdenominational pastors. It has since expanded to represent over 1,000 pastors from across Texas.

Castano said the group's main concern is to prevent drugs and crime from entering the country, "whether that’s the wall, or including electronic surveillance and military presence, whatever’s necessary that would do the job."

Most drugs, however, enter the United States through legal ports of entry.

This isn't the first time the group has spoken out for border security. In 2010, they drafted the Pastors Declaration On Border Security And Immigration Reform, which calls for securing the borders, reforming the immigration system and implementing a process for immigrants to obtain legal status.

The group renewed its call for greater border security at a Houston press conference Thursday, as President Trump headed to Texas to visit officials at the Southern border, in his latest move to campaign for the border wall amid a partial government shutdown.

“With the current crisis of the government partial shutdown and hostility over the border wall proposal, we believed it timely and necessary to restate, reintroduce and reengage this declaration with an even higher demand to balance justice and compassion while restoring respect for the laws of our land and it's sovereignty,” the US Pastor Council said in a press release.

Castano said that while securing the border is the number one priority, there should also be a focus should be on reforming the immigration system. "A process that’s actually fair and just, not a process that’s with red tape or delays or expenses that are just over the limit,” he said. "But it all starts with border security otherwise we cannot move forward."

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