A church full of activists seeking state laws to protect undocumented immigrants got a boost from an unlikely source Saturday when Republican Lake County Sheriff Mark Curran told them he had seen the errors of his former pro-deportation stand. “I was on the other side of this issue, so in essence, a persecutor at one time,” Curran told thousands of activists at St Nicholas of Tolentine Church in West Lawn, standing with Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan and Senate President John Cullerton.
“I cannot think, in good conscience, that breaking up families is something that God is going to look favorably upon in America if we continue to go down that route,” he said as protesters erupted in applause. “My confirmation name as a Catholic is Paul. St. Paul was a persecutor at one point. There was a conversion story. We can stop this silliness of deporting people, breaking up families, and then claiming that we’re ‘pro-family.’ ”
The event was held in the home turf of Madigan, who years ago refused to meet with some of these activists.
But on Saturday, Madigan told them he was on-board with their main requests, and they in turn praised him for his support and help in killing 14 “anti-immigrant” bills that have come up in the state Legislature.
“We know that if we work together there will be a fair remap for the state of Illinois and we know that if we work together there will be an Illinois Dream Act,” Madigan said to raucous cheers. “Everybody in America came from somewhere else. My family came from Ireland many, many years ago.”
He and Cullerton gave favorable forecasts for passage of the state’s Dream Act, which would create a commission funneling private scholarships to children of undocumented immigrants who were educated here.
Efforts for a similar federal law, giving citizenship to foreign-born students who attend college or serve in the military, have failed.
After the rally, Madigan and Cullerton were noncommittal about whether they can draw 20 Hispanic legislative districts as some Hispanic groups have advocated. Madigan’s district may have to move southwest to make way for a new Hispanic ward. Cullerton acknowledged that growth in the Hispanic communities probably would lead to new suburban Hispanic districts and a Chinatown-based Asian district in Chicago.
In addition to Hispanic groups, Irish and African immigrants joined the rally, as did Marty Quinn, director of Madigan’s district office, who takes over as alderman of the ward in a few weeks.
May 1, 2011
By Abdon M. Pallasch
Dear Sheriff Curran,
Apparently you have not been properly catechized, otherwise you wouldn’t refer to the laws of the State and Country you took an oath to uphold and enforce as “silliness”. Indeed, one wonders if you are familiar with classic Biblical passages on authority, for example Hebrews 13:17: “Obey your leaders and submit to them, for they keep watch over your souls as those who will give an account. Let them do this with joy and not with grief, for this would be unprofitable for you.” Or maybe Romans 13:1-5: “Every person is to be in subjection to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those which exist are established by God. Therefore whoever resists authority has opposed the ordinance of God; and they who have opposed will receive condemnation upon themselves. For rulers are not a cause of fear for good behavior, but for evil.”
In addition, you aren’t familiar with what the Catholic Church teaches about lying, or you would urge the faithful illegal immigrants in this country to turn themselves in to the proper authories, as they entered this country under false pretenses and continue to lie in order to reap the benefits of citizenship. Their behavior and yours is scandolous and quite frankly, the only Biblical character you remind me of is the guy who betrayed our Lord for thirty pieces of silver.
P.S. Oh, and as for the Sun-Times — would your copy editors please grow a spine and refer to illegal immigrants by their proper name. The Orwellian use of “undocumented” has gotten out of hand. Thanks.