Arizona Bishops Resist Immigration Bills

The Catholic bishops of Arizona have denounced “punitive” and “costly” legislative proposals that require stricter enforcement of immigration laws by local police. The bishops said the proposals could harm public safety and separate families. “Arizona would become the first state in the nation to codify its own ‘illegal immigration’ law by requiring persons who are here unlawfully in terms of federal law to be charged with trespassing under Arizona law,” said the three bishops who make up the Arizona Catholic Conference in a March 8 statement. The three are Bishops Thomas J. Olmsted of Phoenix, Gerald F. Kicanas of Tucson and James S. Wall of Gallup, N.M., whose diocese includes parts of Arizona. The bishops added that the proposed legislation does not “clearly state that undocumented people who become victims of crimes can come forward without fear of deportation.”

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