PHOENIX, Arizona, JULY 29, 2010 (Zenit.org).- The bishops of Arizona and New Mexico are calling on legislators to put aside their political differences and work together to mend what they call the “broken immigration system.”
The prelates of the border states said this in a statement issued Wednesday in response to the temporary injunction that U.S. District Court Judge Susan Bolton placed on some provisions of SB 1070, more commonly known as the “Arizona Immigration Law.”
The four signatories of the letter — Bishop James Wall of Gallup, New Mexico; Bishop Thomas Olmsted of Phoenix, Auxiliary Bishop Eduardo Nevares of Phoenix, and Bishop Gerald Kicanas of Tucson — commended the decision of Bolton.
“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 prelates stated. “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.”
The bishops said they would continue to oppose the problematic provision of the “Arizona Law,” without giving specifics, and that they will “monitor the implementation of the provisions allowed by the ruling.”
Additionally, the letter asserted that the bishops will also advocate for “comprehensive reform of our nation’s immigration laws,” based on several principles: illegal immigration cannot be allowed, the borders of the nation need to be secure, there must be a process for those who are in the United States illegally to pursue legal status (that is not amnesty), and that those who wish to work in the United States should have a pathway to enter the country legally.
“Illegal immigration is bad for our nation. It is not good for us to not know who is entering our country,” they stated. The bishops also noted the need to “be protected from drug smuggling, weapons smuggling, human trafficking and violence.”
Regarding the legalization of those who already in the country illegally, the bishops said they are not advocating amnesty: “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.”
“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,” the note concluded. “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.”
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On ZENIT’s Web page:
Full text: www.zenit.org/article-30037?l=english