US Bishops Conference on Arizona Immigration Law

WASHINGTON— In solidarity with the Catholic bishops of Arizona, Bishop John C. Wester of Salt Lake City, chairman of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops Committee on Migration, issued a statement April 27, opposing the enactment and implementation of Arizona SB 1070, which criminalizes undocumented immigrants.

“This new law, although limited to the State of Arizona, could have impact throughout the nation, in terms of how members of our immigrant communities are both perceived and treated,” Bishop Wester said in the statement. “SB 1070 gives law enforcement officials powers to detain and arrest individuals based on a very low legal standard, possibly leading to the profiling of individuals based upon their appearance, manner of speaking, or ethnicity.”

Bishop Wester called SB 1070 “symptomatic of the absence of federal leadership on the issue of immigration” and called for “the Administration and Congress to work in a bipartisan manner to enact comprehensive immigration reform as soon as possible.”

Full text of the statement here.

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  1. This is an issue that is worthy of more detailed reflection in a framework broader than the Bishop's letter. More fundamentally, what is the Christian response to the undocumented? Are they criminals or economic refugees? Or something in between? Clearly the best solution would be a path to becoming documented enacted through federal law. As you say in your facebook comment, just immigration laws can protect both the native born and the immigrant. Yet, as we look at the polarized paries in Congress, the bishop's vision of leadership from Washington may never materialize, especially in this election year. With no clear path, it seems prayer, reflection and inspiration from the Spirit are all we have.

  2. What is the impact of illegal immigration on Arizona residents? What is Arizona's share of the American contribution to world charities?
    In 2004, Arizona gave a total of $3.4 Billion to charities -- over $1,500 per household, according to a 2006 Boston Foundation report (http://www.tbf.org/UnderstandingBoston/PortalListingDetails.aspx?sec=Philanthropy_Philanthropy_Reports_Reports_10&id=5882).
    Many Arizonans say their economy is being stressed by the influx of illegals. Given the magnitude of Arizonans' contribution, what policy best serves the most of the dispossessed in the world -- an Arizona with fewer immigrants and greater charitable donations, or an open door for individual immigrants, (legal and illegal) to a more stressed infrastructure? What is our role in telling Arizonans what is right?
    A report generated by the state of Texas (http://www.window.state.tx.us/specialrpt/undocumented/7conclusion.html) indicates the state profited marginally from illegals, but local governments and hospitals experienced a $928 million dollar deficit during the same year.
    No comprehensive Christian analysis can ignore the economic impacts on communities, or of those communities’ ability to bear added stress and still give charitably. “Be careful what you ask for,” my father once warned, “you might get it.”

  3. I have been waiting for the Bishops to make a statement on the immigration law passed by Arizona. To me it left more questions than answers. How does the illegal immigration of the poor from Mexico to the U.S. help the poor. They are transported here for profit of the wealthy of this country. They do not take the jobs of the rich in this country but the poor. They are abused not only by the rich but by our own government, the narcotic dealers, and the sex traders of this country. Please tell me how this human trafficking helps the poor of Mexico or the poor of the U.S. I love our savior Jesus Christ and need some guidance that is complete in thought and spiritual meaning as to how this Law from the state of Arizona is not the correct. Help for the poor of Mexico must start in the corrupt government of that country. How many in this country struggle to survive in this economy? The poor and spiritually depressed of this country need your support. . Please give us complete and thoughtful guidance. May the Peace and Love of Jesus, and the Holy spirit be with you in your leadership role and give you guidance on this issue.


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