Washington D.C., Apr 28, 2010 / 02:01 am
In a statement released April 27, the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) denounced a recently signed law in Arizona which criminalizes undocumented immigrants, calling the legislative move “draconian” and saying it “could lead to the wrongful questioning and arrest of U.S. citizens.”
Writing on behalf of the USCCB, Bishop John C. Wester of Salt Lake City, chairman of the U.S. bishops' committee on Migration noted that he joins the Arizona bishops in “strongly opposing” the implementation of SB 1070, which was signed into law by Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer last Friday.
According to ABC news, the new Arizona law makes it a crime to be in the state illegally and allows police to arrest and question suspected individuals about their status without a warrant. It also criminalizes transporting illegal immigrants anywhere in Arizona, even if by family members.
“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.
Explaining the specifics of the legislation, Bishop Wester stated that “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.”