The Court on June 25 overturned a majority of Arizona Senate Bill 1070, asserting the federal government’s dominion over the enforcement of immigration law. Bishop Barnes praised that element of the ruling. However, the court preserved the portion of the law that requires law enforcement officers, when making a lawful stop, to check the immigration status of a person that they suspect may not have proper documentation.
“This is likely to mean a continued environment of fear and anxiety among our immigrant brothers and sisters in Arizona,” Bishop Barnes wrote in a June 25 statement.
The Bishop noted that a comprehensive reform of federal immigration law is needed so that states and courts are not put in a position of having to make policy.
“The responsibility to create and implement a fair and just reform of our immigration system lies with our federal lawmakers,” he said. “I will continue to pray that they will meet this challenge for the good of our nation.”
Four days after the SB 1070 ruling, the Supreme Court upheld a key provision of the Affordable Healthcare Act (ACA), which would make it mandatory for Americans to carry health insurance. In his remarks, Bishop Barnes focused on other elements of the Act that have been of concern to the U.S. Bishops (although those elements were not impacted by the Supreme Court ruling).
“I ask that you join me in prayer that the leaders of our country amend this act so that our concerns in the areas of right to life, conscience protection and service to our immigrant communities are addressed,” Bishop Barnes said.
In the case of both rulings, Bishop Barnes urged Catholics who may disagree on the rulings and their underlying issues to avoid personal attacks and mean spiritedness in their discussions.
“I also ask that as our dialogue on this emotional issue continues that we treat each other with civility and respect, even if we might not agree with each other,” he said in his statement on the ACA ruling.
The full text of Bishop Barnes’ statements can be viewed at http://sbdiocese.blogspot.com/