The chairman of the U.S. Bishops Committee on Migration, Bishop John C. Wester joined the Catholic bishops of Arizona in lauding the recent decision of a federal judge to block parts of Arizona’s new law on immigration from going into effect.
On June 28, United States District Court Judge Susan Bolton stayed sections of Arizona’s SB 1070, a law designed to crack down on illegal immigration. Judge Bolton prevented law enforcement officers without warrants from arresting those suspected of being illegal immigrants. Her order also removed the mandate that immigrants carry their papers at all times and the requirement that law enforcement verify an immigrant’s status while enforcing other laws.
"It is the right decision,” Bishop Wester said of Bolton’s actions, adding that any law which gives legal grounds for profiling a person affects the entire community. Saying that the current status quo on immigration is “unacceptable,” the bishop declared that “what is needed now is for Congress and the Administration to live up to their responsibilities and address this issue by passing immigration reform."
The USCCB has long advocated for immigration reform, and believes that a comprehensive reform should include a program for migrant workers and their families to earn legal permanent residency and eventual citizenship, a new worker visa program that protects the rights of American and foreign workers, a reform of the family-based immigration system and restoring due process protections for immigrants.
The parts of Arizona’s new law which were not blocked by the judge go into effect today.