Arizona's Catholic bishops released the following statement yesterday afternoon on a federal court decision which blocks some elements of Arizona's controversial immigration law (more on this):
We, the Roman Catholic Bishops in Arizona, commend Judge Susan Bolton for enjoining some of the more problematic provisions of SB 1070.
We hope that reaction to her ruling will be expressed only in peaceful and legal ways.
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.
Our hearts go out to these families. We know them to be good people who work hard and who contribute to the economy and to the quality of life of their communities.
We will continue our advocacy against the provisions of SB 1070 and will monitor the implementation of the provisions allowed by the ruling.
We will continue to advocate for comprehensive reform of our nation’s immigration laws.
Our advocacy is predicated on our beliefs that:
• Illegal immigration is bad for our nation. It is not good for us to not know who is entering our country.
• Our international borders need to be secured and we need to be protected from drug smuggling, weapons smuggling, human trafficking and violence.
• There must be a process – but not amnesty – for persons who have entered our country illegally to pursue legal status. This process must have proportionate consequences for the act of illegal entry, consequences that would include fines, learning English, and going to the “back of the line” to seek citizenship.
• Our nation needs a program that would allow needed workers to enter the country legally. This program must include protection of worker rights.
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.
We pray for those who have died and for their grieving families. And we pray that our senators and representatives will put aside their partisan divisions and go to work immediately to fix the broken immigration system.
Most Rev. James S. Wall
Bishop of Gallup
Most Rev. Thomas J. Olmsted
Bishop of Phoenix
Most Rev. Gerald F. Kicanas
Bishop of Tucson
Most Rev. Eduardo A. Nevares
Auxiliary Bishop of Phoenix