Catholic World News

Bishop blasts Arizona immigration law

August 10, 2010

In a column published on the web site of the Washington Post, Auxiliary Bishop Gabino Zavala of Los Angeles offered strong criticism of Arizona’s immigration law

“While it was heartening that federal judge Susan Bolton temporarily barred the most egregious provisions in SB 1070 from going into effect, much remains to be done, particularly because the courts still need to decide which provisions will be permanently excluded,” he writes. “We celebrate that police cannot insist that anyone they deem suspicious provide documents proving citizenship, as the legislation called for, and that authorities are not permitted to indefinitely detain people until their immigration status is resolved.”

“Other troubling aspects of the law still stand however, and we continue to oppose them. For instance, it remains a crime to provide refuge for immigrants without documentation, and here our moral obligation to provide companionship and hospitality to those in need directly contradicts the law.”

Bishop Zavala continued:

I know that too many families have already been ravaged by our dysfunctional immigration laws. Too many congregations and communities are paralyzed by fear and marginalized by increasingly hostile rhetoric. We must remember that those who make the terrible and often life-threatening journey to the U.S. do so because they have insufficient opportunity in their native lands to provide for themselves and their families. Migration to another country is not something undertaken lightly. These people come to this country for a better life, and are met with inhumane and hostile laws like SB 1070. We cannot stand for this.

The challenge before us today requires that we discern and honor the dignity of each of our immigrant neighbors. As a community of faith, we are all people on a pilgrimage, a migrant people, hoping to arrive in the freedom of God's love, a love that has nothing to do with terrestrial borders. If we neglect the dignity of our immigrant neighbors, a dignity that issues directly from God, then we neglect our own and remove ourselves from the loving freedom that is the sure inheritance of us all.


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  • Posted by: samuel.doucette1787 - Aug. 11, 2010 11:31 AM ET USA

    The United States and the State of Arizona are facing an unprecedented attempt to weaken national and state sovereignity from both American and non-American bishops. A day doesn't pass where I don't read about either a Salvadoran, Mexican, and now an American bishop advocating for ILLEGAL aliens to keep breaking American laws and jeopardizing American citizens' public safety when El Salvador and Mexico both tightly protect their borders to protect their safety. The hypocrisy is amazing!

  • Posted by: Don Vicente - Aug. 10, 2010 10:07 AM ET USA

    Nobody seems to realize that most of the AZ law is simply a word-for-word restating of existing FEDERAL law. LEGAL immigrants have been required to carry documents (e.g. "green card") with them since 1940. If that's so immoral, where were the Catholic bishops back in 1940 when the law was passed under FDR? If you object to the AZ law, logically, you must equally oppose the Federal immigration statutes. So where are their Excellencies if the Federal statutes are immoral? Or maybe they aren't?

  • Posted by: - Aug. 10, 2010 8:45 AM ET USA

    The position of Bishop Zavala smacks of irresponsibility to the very people that he purports to defend. We have a situation of utter disregard for our immigration laws encouraged by reckless socio-political opportunists who on the secular level are fishing for votes. This bodes badly for the economic and social environment in the U.S. and especially for those who are most economically vulnerable.

  • Posted by: wojo425627 - Aug. 10, 2010 6:46 AM ET USA

    A good number of those immigrants though are gang members and drug and gun runners.