Faith Leaders Side with Administration in Court Challenge to Arizona Anti-Immigrant Law
Religious leaders from across the theological and ideological spectrum have been outspoken in their support for comprehensive federal immigration reform and their condemnation of state legislation that deputizes teachers and local law enforcement as immigration agents, drives hard-working people further into the shadows, and creates a climate of hostility and suspicion. When the first-of-its-kind anti-immigrant billed SB 1070 was signed into law in Arizona, the faith community immediately denounced the legislation for dividing communities and unfairly targeting Latinos.
The Supreme Court is slated to hear legal challenges to SB 1070 this year, and dozens of religious groups have signed onto an amicus curiae brief urging the court to reject the law because of the host of legal problems and humanitarian issues it has caused. The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, longtime advocates for humane comprehensive immigration reform and the DREAM Act, are also weighing in with their own separate brief.
In a letter announcing the brief, the USCCB’s Cardinal Dolan and Archbishop Gomez said:
State laws in Alabama, Arizona, and other States have created environments in which immigrants, regardless of their legal status, and law enforcement personnel are pitted against each other, eroding long-held trust between immigrant neighborhoods and local authorities. … ….Unless Congress acts in the near future, we are deeply concerned that these new laws will continue to tear at the social fabric of our nation.
The prelates also point out the negative impact these state laws have had on church ministries and continue to urge Congress to pass comprehensive reform.