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Archbishop criticizes Florida immigration bill

Catholic World News - April 25, 2011

Archbishop Thomas Wenski of Miami has criticized a bill in the state legislature that would prohibit employers from hiring illegal immigrants and authorize police to determine the immigration status of those under investigation or arrest.

“The Florida Legislature's debate on immigration threatens the economic stability of Florida,” Archbishop Wenski said. “Punitive measures aimed at undocumented workers will create an atmosphere of fear for them and their families. At the same time, these same punitive measures will alienate legal residents and foreign tourists who because of their ethnic "profile" could be mistaken for undocumented migrants.”

“While the Church does not advocate for undocumented immigration, the Church recognizes the human dignity of the ‘stranger among us’ who, regardless of his or her legal status, is still the subject of rights--that are not conferred by the state but are in fact God-given,” he added. “One cannot forget the basic humanity of the immigrant whatever his status.”

“If Floridians want to contribute positively to addressing the problems caused by illegal migration, then they should join forces with those pressing Congress for a federal solution--one that honors the rule of law but, at the same time, affords our migrant brothers and sisters the respect and dignity that is theirs as human beings made in the image and likeness of God.”

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  • Posted by: Mike in Toronto - Apr. 25, 2011 10:48 PM ET USA

    "For I was ... a stranger and you gave me no welcome ... "Then they will answer and say, 'Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or ill or in prison, and not minister to your needs?' "He will answer them, 'Amen, I say to you, what you did not do for one of these least ones, you did not do for me." And these will go off to eternal punishment, but the righteous to eternal life (cf. Mt 25:43-16, NAB). Perhaps the bishop was taking Jesus seriously.

  • Posted by: Obregon - Apr. 25, 2011 12:53 PM ET USA

    The bishop stated, “Punitive measures aimed at undocumented workers will create an atmosphere of fear for them and their families. At the same time, these same punitive measures will alienate legal residents and foreign tourists who because of their ethnic "profile" could be mistaken for undocumented migrants.” Did anyone notice the bishop used the word "undocumented" rather than "illegal?" When the bishop uses the correct language to speak about this issue, I might take him seriously.

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