US bishops to back federal government in immigration dispute with Arizona
March 23, 2012
In a letter urging the speaker of the House of Representatives to work for the speedy passage of immigration reform legislation, Cardinal Timothy Dolan of New York and Archbishop José Gomez of Los Angeles stated that the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) will support the federal government in its dispute with Arizona over the state’s 2010 immigration legislation.
“Soon, the US Supreme Court will hear arguments in the case of Arizona v. United States, in which they will decide whether the federal government maintains full authority to enact and implement laws governing immigration,” said the prelates, who serve respectively as USCCB president and chairman of the USCCB Committee on Migration. “The US Conference of Catholic Bishops will file an amicus brief in the case in support of the federal government.”
Elsewhere in the letter, the prelates told Rep. John Boehner that “passage of immigration reform is more important now than ever, as State laws and local enforcement initiatives are filling the immigration policy vacuum left by Congress. This has created a patchwork of laws and policies throughout the country which have led to discord in our communities.”
The prelates continued:
Of particular concern to us and our brother bishops is the impact our broken system is having on immigrant families, many of whom have one or more undocumented persons among their number. Federal and local law enforcement policies have led to an unprecedented separation of families, as undocumented parents are being separated from their US citizen children …
In addition, 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. Because of congressional inaction, the federal courts have been forced to intervene to halt their implementation … 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.
“Moreover, certain provisions of these laws could negatively affect church ministries–soup kitchens, homeless shelters, hospitals, and parishes–which provide basic material and spiritual needs to persons who seek help, regardless of their legal status,” the prelates added. “We, along with other faith-based organizations, should not be required to check a person’s immigration status in order to serve them.”
– from Catholic World News, via the Catholic Culture blog
Dear Confused Liberals and Enemies of the Church,
I’m already on record as being a vehement critic of the U.S. Bishops when it comes to immigration policy (note to Bishops — you assume our immigration system is broken because you start from the assumption that the system should let in lots of immigrants. What if a people, who govern themselves via a democratic republic doesn’t want lots of immigrants? Don’t the citizens of a polity get a say in who their neighbors are going to be? And stop calling illegal immigrants who enter this country by breaking its laws — usually by lying, which is a violation of one of the Ten Commandments, “undocumented persons” — your moral authority slowly fades every time you use that ridiculous phrase. Instead, how about reminding the illegals in this country their duty to tell the truth and obey the law in the first place!) But I want to let you know, because it seems to be a bit of a meme on the left these days, that you can be a devout, orthodox, and traditional Catholic and still disagree with the Bishops on matters pertaining to the prudential application of Church social teaching. What you cannot do is pick and choose among the Church’s teachings when it comes to theology and moral matters — the Real Presence in the Eucharist, the Immaculate Conception, abortion is always wrong, killing the sick and elderly is always wrong, to do evil so that good may come of it (i.e. torture) is always wrong, etc., etc.
One can even disagree with a Pope on prudential matters of policy — always with care and respect, but through careful argument it can be done. What we cannot disagree with is the Magisterium of the Catholic Church.