Liberal local government officials are often quick to crow about separation of church and state. But now some North Texas officials may be in violation of the state’s sanctuary cities ban under a policy where they accept church-issued IDs in order to allow illegal aliens to avoid detection.
Churches in the Catholic Diocese of Dallas have been issuing identification cards to illegal aliens as part of a liberal activist scheme to help the illegals circumvent immigration laws. Though the IDs aren’t recognized under state law, the churches and liberal groups have pressured several local governments into saying they will accept them during traffic stops in lieu of drivers licenses.
Dallas, Carrollton, and Farmers Branch police departments have reportedly agreed to accept the IDs in lieu of drivers’ licenses as part of an agreement brokered by Dallas Area Interfaith following passage of the ban on sanctuary cities in 2017. In recent years, a number of liberal advocacy groups have rebranded as “interfaith” groups, using liberal churches as cover for left-wing advocacy.
“It’s a new campaign, but so far some participants are reporting success using the church-issued IDs during traffic stops,” wrote Vanessa Brown of NBC DFW.
Driving without a valid driver’s license remains illegal in Texas.
Launched this March, the Catholic Diocese says they have issued hundreds of IDs since the program began. According to a report by the Dallas Morning News, San Juan Diego Catholic Church issued 300 cards to 500 applicants earlier this month. “The rest couldn’t be printed due to an equipment failure.”
Requests for comment sent to Jennifer Allmon, Executive Director of the Texas Conference of Catholic Bishops, were not immediately returned.
One organizer of the initiative told thenewspaper it was designed to help illegal immigrants avoid arrest.
“We know this is not a document issued by the state. But when they do accept it to identify the person, they can issue a ticket to their name and avoid arrest,” he said.
While every church participating in the program establishes its own standards in regard to ID’s, Father Michael Forge of Mary Immaculate Catholic Church in Farmers Branch told the newspaper his church was issuing IDs to “anyone who applies and provides some type of active or expired government-issued ID from their country of origin or an affidavit to prove they are who they say. The IDs are also free.”
“You don’t have to be Catholic for that matter,” he added. “We certainly want our immigrants, legal or otherwise, to have some sort of peace.”
Legal experts say the cities may be violating the sanctuary cities ban by adopting a policy to accept the church IDs. The new law prohibits local governments from adopting policies which “materially limit the enforcement of immigration laws.”