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Valley Interfaith is revitalizing our democracy and building relational power across party, racial, denominational, economic and geographic lines. We want marginalized people and families to have a powerful voice in the decision-making that affects the communities of the Rio Grande Valley.

Valley Interfaith está revitalizando nuestra democracia y construyendo poder relacional atravesando fronteras partidarias, raciales, denominacionales, económicas y geográficas. Queremos que las personas y familias marginadas tengan una voz poderosa en la toma de decisiones que afectan a las comunidades del Valle del Río Grande.

Bishop Flores Exhorts 'Recognizing the Stranger' Gathering to Embrace Mission, Communion and Participation

Valley Interfaith's 'Recognizing the Stranger' training drew 82 ministry leaders from 15 local parishes in the Rio Grande Valley of Texas.  Bishop Daniel Flores delivered stirring remarks noting Pope Francis' constant reminders of three aspects of the synodal process to develop in parish life: communion, mission and participation.  Bishop Flores also emphasized that a transformed heart ("resurrected vision") seeks what, as a community, can be done to make life better and more human for those most vulnerable. 

Valley Interfaith Celebrates $3M Grant to VIDA Job Training

Urges More Cities and Counties to Invest in VIDA

Valley Interfaith leaders Rosalie Tristan and Joe Hinojosa celebrated VIDA's recent fundraising success as the culmination of 28 years of dreams and hard political work.  Almost three decades ago, Valley Interfaith established and, over the years, sustained the labor market intermediary to help transform jobs in the Rio Grande Valley. 

Valley Interfaith Leaders Proud of VIDA's SuccessRio Grande Guardian

Valley Interfaith: We decry Gov. Abbott’s signing of new anti-immigrant state laws

[Photo Credit: Steve Taylor, Rio Grande Guardian]


"Our immigration system is outdated, and Congress has been unable to update it in decades. As a result, Governor Abbott and his enablers in the Texas Legislature are coming up with ever more questionable ways to spend billions of Texas taxes to militarize border enforcement and criminalize migrants who are fleeing political, religious and criminal violence and persecution in countries across the world. Frustration over our broken immigration system is allowing the Governor and Texas Legislature to adopt inappropriate and self-defeating strategies like SB 4 and SB 3.

SB 4 will make it a state crime for anyone to cross the Texas-Mexico border between ports of entry. Under the current immigration law, only 1450 people each day can legally cross the US-Mexico border at ports of entry and seek asylum. Many thousands more, fearing the violence and cartels on the Mexico side of the border, choose to cross between ports of entry and immediately turn themselves into border patrol officers and seek asylum. If state and local officers interact before they turn themselves into border patrol, they are liable under SB 4."

Valley Interfaith: We decry Gov. Abbott’s Signing of New Anti-Immigrant State LawsRio Grande Guardian [pdf]


As Skin Rashes Spread Near Milwhite Plant, Valley Interfaith Challenges Brownsville Mayor & Council to Take Action

Valley Interfaith leaders told graphic stories at an assembly they organized to challenge the Mayor of Brownsville to address the health impacts of plant operations by the Milwhite industrial clay plant on South Padre Island Highway.  In addition to new skin conditions developing among infants and adults, excessive white dust, noise and truck movement has made life intolerable for nearby residents.  

"We’re literally breathing in the dust particles,” said Valley Interfaith leader Adhlemy Sanchez.  

The Rio Grande Guardian reports that the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) has fined Milwhite several times for failing to prevent "nuisance" impacts on neighbors and maintain abatement equipment. 

The assembly was held at St. Eugene Mazenod Catholic Church in Brownsville.  In attendance were City of Brownsville Mayor John Cowen and Brownsville City Commissioner Linda C. Macias, in addition to city staff.

Video: Valley Interfaith Leader StoriesRio Grande Guardian 

Valley Interfaith to Hold Town Hall Meeting on Milwhite RelocationRio Grande Guardian

Brownsville Leaders Sympathetic to Residents Living Next to Milwhite Industrial PlantRio Grande Guardian



Recognizing the Stranger | Reconociendo al Extranjero

USCCB: Pope Meets US Leaders Patiently Building 'Culture of Solidarity'


When Pope Francis told a group of U.S. community organizers that their work was "atomic," Jorge Montiel said, "I thought, 'Oh, you mean we blow things up?'"

But instead, the pope spoke about how the groups associated with the West/Southwest Industrial Areas Foundation in the United States take issues patiently, "atom by atom," and end up building something that "penetrates" and changes entire communities, said Montiel, an IAF organizer in Colorado and New Mexico.

Pope Francis' hourlong meeting Sept. 14 with 15 delegates from the group was a follow-up to a similar meeting a year ago. Neither meeting was listed on the pope's official schedule and, the delegates said, both were conversations, not "audiences."

"It was relaxed, it was engaging," said Joe Rubio, national co-director of IAF. "Often you don't see that even with parish priests," he told Catholic News Service Sept. 15, garnering the laughter of other delegates.

Pope Meets US Leaders Patiently Building Culture of SolidarityUS Conference of Catholic Bishops / Catholic News Service [pdf]

VIDA Only Texas Organization to Secure $3M Nursing Expansion Grant from the U.S. Department of Labor

"As of now, [Valley Initiative for Development and Advancement] VIDA has graduated over 4000 students with an average salary of about $48,000 a year. Lifting our community, our families from poverty, depending on welfare to be self sustaining, to get out of poverty and bringing about dignity and respect to their families and bringing about an opportunity for the next generation to do better than themselves. That's what Valley Interfaith has done."

-Eddie Anaya

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Valley Interfaith, EPISO Work with Legislators to Block Substandard Border Housing Bills

Valley Interfaith and EPISO teamed up to successfully oppose two bills that would have undermined the Model Rules for Development that govern real estate development in counties that border the Texas-Mexico border.  The Model Rules for Development have been a critical tool that our organizations fought for over 30 years ago and which have limited the development of substandard housing lacking access to sewer and clean water lines, drainage and roads.

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Two Years of Texas IAF Opposition Leads to HB 5 Reforms to Limit Giving of School Money for Corporate Tax Breaks

The Texas Senate and House passed a compromised version of HB5 that still fundamentally represents misguided economic development.  A 2-year campaign by Texas IAF and allies, however, led to major reforms in HB 5 compared to the now defunct and failed Chapter 313 program.  When these tax abatement deals are proposed at local school districts, there will now be a fair fight for taxpayers and public school supporters concerned about corporate welfare.  HB 5 Reforms to Chapter 313 include:

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Texas IAF: Allow Gun 'Raise the Age' Bill to Be Heard on House Floor

Less than a day after a bill that would raise the age to legally purchase semi-automatic rifles unexpectedly passed through Committee, Texas IAF leaders learned that Representative Guillen (from Rio Grande City) appeared to be actively suppressing House Bill 2744 from being heard on the floor.  Delayed submission of the Committee report resulted in the bill missing a crucial deadline for it to put on the Calendars schedule for Thursday -- the last day to hear new bills. 

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