A few days ago, Cardinal Roger Mahony denounced in the strongest terms the retrograde and dangerous anti-immigration bill passed by the Arizona state legislature. The bill if signed into law by the governor would allow local police in that state to stop anyone they suspect of being undocumented.
Cardinal Mahony joined with the Catholic bishops of Arizona and other state religious leaders in a letter urging the governor to veto the legislation.
As they noted, the proposed law could lead to widespread discrimination against Mexican Americans and other Latinos who can be stopped and asked to prove their citizenship or legal residence.
But when you think of it, what can anyone show that they are citizens or that they are legal? Few of us walk around with our passports and a driver’s license is not proof of citizenship or legal status. This clearly is an issue that can be abused by the police.
Cardinal Mahony also criticized other aspects of the bill such as outlawing day workers from congregating to look for work. The right to work should not be forbidden especially since these workers have so little.
I applaud Cardinal Mahony for this taking on this bill in Arizona as well as his historic support for immigrant rights. I very much hope that his successor will be as strong on this and other social justice issues.