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

Comments

Anonymous | 7/31/2010 - 1:50am
I just found 2009 statistics and again Mexico led the pack with 15.5% of immigrants, down from 22.2% in 2008.  Naturalization dropped substantially in 2009 from the previous year.  Must be the Democrat controlled government.


Mexico was followed by India, Philippines, China, Vietnam and Cuba.  The usual suspects.  Somehow that State Department list never made it to the immigration office.
Anonymous | 7/31/2010 - 1:39am
I checked naturalization figures for 1991-2000, the last period I could find.

The number one country for naturalization was Mexico with nearly 1.1 million new citizens and 19.4% of the 5.6 million total.  Next was the Philippines with 360,000 and 6.6% of the total.  These were closely followed by Vietnam, India and China.  Other countries well represented were Cuba, Jamaica, Poland, Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Haiti and Korea.


Doesn't look like any prejudice against Mexico to me since nearly 1 in 5 new citizens were from Mexico.  It also looks like many on the list put out by the State Department somehow become citizens.
Eric Stoltz | 7/30/2010 - 9:51pm
JR Cosgrove:

A line? really? Here is a list of countries taken directly from the website for the Secretary of State which names the countries whose citizens need not apply for the visa lottery, as they are not eligible: 


BRAZIL, CANADA, CHINA (mainland-born), COLOMBIA, DOMINICAN REPUBLIC, ECUADOR, EL SALVADOR, GUATEMALA, HAITI, INDIA, JAMAICA, MEXICO, PAKISTAN, PERU, PHILIPPINES, POLAND, SOUTH KOREA, UNITED KINGDOM (except Northern Ireland) and its dependent territories, and VIETNAM. 


The only other way to legally enter the U.S. is to be sponsored by an immediate family member of an employer. There are exceptions, which are so ludicrous that the invisible hand of lobbyists is written all over them: http://bit.ly/353eJE 


So, if you are a person in Mexico who wishes to get a job in the United States and you have no family here legally or an employer willing to sponsor you (with a lot of paperwork), THERE IS NO LINE. To claim there is some magical line is patently ridiculous.


Your Australian friend got in because residents of Australia are not prohibited from applying; your Dominican friend got in because (a) the Dominican Republic was at some point not a prohibited country or (b) he fit an exception. For residents of Mexico, toward whom the most outrageous anti-immigrant anger is directed, THERE IS NO LINE.
Anonymous | 7/29/2010 - 10:00pm
''There is no line. Why do the bishops participate in perpetuating this fantasy?''

There is most definitely a line and I know some people who stood in for up to 10 years before they became citizens.  One is from Australia and one is from the Dominican Republic.
Eric Stoltz | 7/29/2010 - 8:42pm
AGAIN with this ridiculous talking point of "going to the back of the line." What line? There is no line. Why do the bishops participate in perpetuating this fantasy?
Vince Killoran | 7/29/2010 - 3:25pm
As a citizen I vote for my elected officials so the role of religious figures should not be to weigh in on every bill and policy.  My question is somewhat technical: what Catholic teaching must be defended in by opposing amnesty?  Once again this seems like a case overreaching by the bishops.
Anonymous | 7/29/2010 - 1:39pm
''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.''
 
From what I have seen these are the talking points of Glenn Beck, Rush Limbaugh, Sarah Palin and the Republican party.  Are the Bishops in bed with these people?
JIM MCCREA | 7/29/2010 - 7:52pm
That s/b "booty"
JIM MCCREA | 7/29/2010 - 7:52pm
"From what I have seen these are the talking points of Glenn Beck, Rush Limbaugh, Sarah Palin and the Republican party.  Are the Bishops in bed with these people?"


Yes, but chastely of course.  No bopty bumping allowed.
Tom Maher | 7/29/2010 - 6:29pm
Finally some faint acknowledgement that there is a border problem.  It would be hard for the bishops of Arizona to ignore this fact as the rest of the church does.


The biggest problem for the church is to be in contact with the reality of the Arizona border problem.  Much of the church is de-facto backing a open borders policy.  The church encourages weal, ineffective U.S. border enforcemnt so to allow its hispanic clients to immigrate at will on their own terms and schedule.  

Ohio counties have just started using for th efirst time the just implemented 9/11 homeland security laws using federal criminal data on illegal immigrants.  They can now use finger prints for the first time to find if a uspect is on ICE fellon immigrant data base.  Before this anyone could claim tobe "John Smith" and noone could say otherwise.  The typical felon immigrant has numerous aliased which make it impossible to correctly identify who they really are..  Previously criminal immigrants who commit crimes in their native country or the United States repeatedly re-enter the United States without local authoriities ever being aware of their criminal background.   This new program now identifies immigrant felons by figer prints.

So far only three Ohio counties have implemented this new federal system meant for state and local law enforcemnt ifentification of immigrant g being and are depa tify daeprogream that shares ICE and other criminal dafellons. 

Theresults hgave been astounding.  One Ohio county of 300,000 people report they are finding and deporting 30 criminal immigrants per week.. This means there are thousands of criminal immigrants living across the United States until now completely protected from law enforcement.  These are the criminals of every nation who come to America to continue a profitable and risk free life of crime.  How foolish is the notion of an open border when the world has a hugh criminals population.  

Hopefully the slow moving implementation of 9/11 programs will help stop the open border immigration of criminals to the United States soon.   Why wouild any sane society want to allow criminal immigration?   Unfortunately the church's open border stand has been a part of this problem.
Anonymous | 7/29/2010 - 3:10pm
I was trying to point out the irony of the Bishop's statement which sounds very intelligent to me and as far as I can see is in sync with traditional Republican and conservative thinking on this.  What is not intelligent is the way that some report this phenomena and try to raise emotions on misinformation.



I would bet you that most of Arizona and the governor agree with the Bishop's statement.  But that is not the impression one gets when one reads the rhetoric on the topic.
Vince Killoran | 7/29/2010 - 2:40pm
Isn't the number of illegal immigrants down in the last few years?

I thought the bishops letter was okay but on what grounds  do they, as religious leaders, weigh in against amnesty?  What Catholic social teaching is at issue? 
Gabriel Marcella | 7/29/2010 - 2:23pm
JR,
The bishops are principled, pragmatic, and charitable. They propose a deal similar to what the Bush administration proposed (and failed) and they reject the inflammatory and politically unacceptable term called "amnesty." These are intelligent people who understand the political sensitivity, the human dimension, and even the national security stakes. Thank you, Bishops Wall, Olmsted, Kicanas, and Nevares for bringing sense to the debate.
Michael Bindner | 7/30/2010 - 2:18pm
Catholic Bishops should believe in Amnesty - however, you have to look at which bishops Arizona has.  Pity.