In a short statement released by the Arizona Catholic Bishops' Conference yesterday, they commended the action of Judge Susan Bolton in restricting some of the "more problematic provisions of SB 1070," which would lead to racial profiling and the unreasonable holding of immigrants who are here legally as well as U.S. citizens.
Although I understand that a short statement should be expected on short notice, I am disappointed that the document does not make use of any of the foundational biblical teachings or social doctrine of the Catholic Church. The primary concern expressed in the document seems to be that this unjust law would adversely affect Catholics at almost every parish in the state of Arizona. Hence, it seems that they are primarily concerned with the issue because it will affect Catholics.
They also briefly lay out their vision of comprehensive immigration reform, which includes forcing illegal immigrants to learn English as a punishment for being here illegally. It lists this next to fining illegal immigrants. Although I think it would be helpful to offer English classes to immigrants, it seems odd to make their punishment "learning English." After an illegal immigrant learns English, would they receive a green card?
In any case, I am pleased that they are opposed to this legislation. Scripture as well as Catholic Social Teaching make abundantly clear that the alien in your midst should be treated with respect, dignity, and love. What else is the message of Jesus if not one of God's unconditional love for us that we would likewise share. Obviously, there are other complexities concerning this issue, but I will tackle those in a future post.
A Faithful Catholic