Friday, July 30, 2010

Bishops Praise Court Injunction on Arizona Law.

Four Roman Catholic Bishops, from dioceses in states bordering Mexico, have issued a joint statement praising U.S. District Court Judge Susan Bolton's temporary injunction of certain portions of Arizona's recently enacted immigration law (SB 1070).

The four signatories of the letter are - (pictured, from top to bottom) Bishop James Wall of Gallup, New Mexico,Bishop Thomas Olmsted of Phoenix,Auxiliary Bishop Eduardo Nevares of Phoenix and Bishop Gerald Kicanas of Tucson, Arizona.

The letter begins;

"We, the Roman Catholic Bishops in Arizona, commend Judge Susan Bolton for enjoining some of the more problematic provisions of SB 1070."

I have to ask the four Bishops, just what exactly are the more problematic provisions of SB 1070? That question is not addressed in their letter.The law gives Arizona's law enforcement officers the authority to enforce Federal statutes already on the books - which are, sadly, not being enforced by the Federal authorities. What portions of the law, I dare ask, are contrary to the teachings of the Roman Catholic Church?

They write;

"As bishops in our respective dioceses, we know that in practically every parish there are families that have been living with the fear and anxiety generated by SB 1070 that they might be torn apart. The situation of these families might be that one parent is a citizen and that the other is not in our country legally. Or, the situation might be that some children in the family are citizens and that a brother or sister is not here legally."

Ironically, this follows a few sentences later;

"Illegal immigration is bad for our nation. It is not good for us to not know who is entering our country."

If, as they say, illegal immigration is bad for the nation, why aren't we allowed to enforce our immigration laws? I understand that some families may be "living with fear and the anxiety" of the possibility of some family members being deported but, we're talking about people who have thumbed their noses at the legal immigration process and now we are expected to continue to look the other way.

You suggest a process for persons who have entered our country illegally to pursue legal status. This process, you assure us, must not be amnesty. It isn't amnesty, we're told, if there are "proportionate consequences".

What are these "proportionate consequences"?

Paying fines, learning English, and going to the "back of the line" to seek citizenship.

How does one determine the proper amount for a fine? Will it be as high as the fees that legal immigrants must pay for visas, change of status applications, applications for permanent residency and the application for citizenship? Many of these illegal aliens entered the country illegally because they could not afford to pay for the initial applications. Many would now be "living with the fear and anxiety generated by" the inability to pay the fine. Are they then to be deported or will they be given another "free pass"?

"Our nation needs a program that would allow needed workers to enter the country legally. This program must include protection of worker rights."

In these days of 10% (and higher) unemployment rates, do we really need an influx of more immigrants willing to work for substandard wages?

"The tragic consequences of the failure of our nation's political leadership to enact reform of our immigration system have included the deaths of thousands of people.
Migrants -- women, men, children in desperate circumstances -- have died trying to enter our country. U.S. citizens have died because of crimes committed by drug smugglers, people smugglers and weapons smugglers."

Sorry, but no; the tragic consequences you mention are not the result of our political leadership's failure to enact reform of our immigration system - they are rather the result of our political leadership's failure to enforce the laws we already have.

To read the Bishop's letter as published on the website go to Bishops on Injunction of Parts of Arizona Law.


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