Cardinal Daniel DiNardo, 58, said in statements at a luncheon with Republican Texas Gov. Rick Perry that the emphasis on illegal workers made any legislation ineffective, the Houston Chronicle reported Thursday.
"Certainly we want to protect our borders," he said. "At the same time, punitive measures alone are going to be ultimately ineffective, and I think counterproductive."
DiNardo said the Catholic bishops in Texas support widespread immigration reform that focuses on family reunification.
He emphasized that his key concerns of immigration, abortion, capital punishment and health aren't issues that fit into the platforms of the political left or right.