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Supreme Court strikes down most of Arizona’s harsh immigration law; one key element remains.25 Jun

Justice Anthony Kennedy

BISHOPS GREET SUPREME COURT DECISION ON IMMIGRATION WITH HOPE, CAUTION

The long-awaited decision from the Supreme Court about the constitutionality of SB 1070, the Arizona law that was meant to drive immigrants from that state came down today. The Washington Post reports the following:

The court ruled that Arizona cannot make it a misdemeanor for immigrants to fail to carry identification that says whether they are in the United States legally; cannot make it a crime for undocumented immigrants to apply for a job; and cannot arrest someone based solely on the suspicion that the person is in this country illegally.

The court also said the part of the law it upheld — requiring officers to check the immigration status of those they detain and reasonably believe to be illegal immigrants — could be subject to additional legal challenges once it is implemented.

The Court is right to urge caution in carrying out the provision of the law it approved. The Catholic Conference is concerned that this could lead to the profiling of persons because of their skin color or ethnicity. Enforcement will almost certainly lead to the unnecessary separation and breakdown of families.

Fortunately, much of the law was struck down and here in Kentucky we hope lawmakers refrain from introducing bills in 2013 that try to fix the broken immigration system at the state level.

Writing for the majority Justice Anthony M. Kennedy said,

The sound exercise of national power over immigration depends on the nation’s meeting its responsibility to base its laws on a political will informed by searching, thoughtful, rational civic discourse.

Archbishop of Los Angeles and Chair, USCCB Committee on Migration, Jose Gomez

In a statement from the U. S. Bishops’ Conference, Archbishop Jose Gomez said,

The U.S. Catholic bishops across the nation will urge their state governments to not pursue laws such as in Arizona, but rather to pursue humane reform on the federal level. Humane enforcement of our nation’s laws are part of any solution, but enforcement by itself, unjustly administered, only leads to abuses and family breakdown. The Church will continue to stand by immigrants and their families and seek justice on their behalf.

It is time for Congress to face the serious challenge of repairing this system and passing comprehensive immigration reform legislation.

For more about the Church’s teaching regarding immigration please visit the Justice For Immigrants website.

Photos: official SCOTUS photo; Archdiocese of LA website

 

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