As Supreme Court Considers Arizona Law, Faith Leaders Call Upon President, Congress to Reassert Authority on Immigration Law

April 24, 2012 By Public Affairs Office

WASHINGTON—In letters sentApril 24, on the eve of oral arguments to the Supreme Court on Arizona'simmigration law, 15 religious leaders urged President Barack Obama and the 112thCongress to "reassert your authority" and move to enact immigration reformlegislation "as soon as possible."

Thenational faith leaders expressed concern that, because of its inaction on thisissue for several years, the federal government is implicitly transferring"unprecedented authority" to state and local governments to implementimmigration policy, to the "detriment of our nation and our local communities."

"Insteadof one federal immigration system applicable to all, we now have many statesand an untold number of localities attempting to create their own immigrationpolicies," the letters stated. "This will only lead to a patchwork of lawswhich would cause family separation, economic disruption, and dividedcommunities."

Theleaders called for federal elected officials to move to enact immigrationreform legislation, which would reaffirm federal authority over immigration lawand preserve family unity as the cornerstone of the U.S. immigration system.They agreed that any reform of the system should feature a path to citizenshipfor the undocumented.

CardinalTimothy Dolan of New York, president of USCCB, and Archbishop José Gomez of LosAngeles, chairman of the USCCB Committee on Migration, signed the letters onbehalf of the U.S. bishops. Other signatories included Bishop Minerva Circano,resident bishop of the Phoenix area of the United Methodist Church and chair ofthe United Methodist Task Force on Immigration; Leith Anderson, president ofthe National Association of Evangelicals; Mark Hanson, presiding bishop of theEvangelical Lutheran Church in America; Most Reverend Katharine JeffertsSchori, presiding bishop and primate of the Episcopal Church; Rabbi Steve Gutow,president of the Jewish Council for Public Affairs; and Reverend Sam Rodriguez,president of the National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference.

Theletters can be found at: www.usccb.org/issues-and-action/human-life-and-dignity/immigration/upload/April-2012-USCCB-Interfaith-Letter-to-Congress-Immigration.pdf and www.usccb.org/issues-and-action/human-life-and-dignity/immigration/upload/April-2012-USCCB-Interfaith-Letter-to-President-Obama-Immigration.pdf.

Testimonyof the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops before the Senate Subcommittee onImmigration on the constitutionality of state laws is available at: www.usccb.org/about/migration-policy/congressional-testimony/upload/Testimony-JYoung-042412-Senate-Judiciary-Hearing.pdf.

TheUSCCB amicus brief on the case of Arizonav. United States is also available online: www.usccb.org/about/general-counsel/amicus-briefs/upload/state-of-arizona-v-united-states-of-america.pdf.

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Keywords: U.S. bishops, USCCB, immigration,comprehensive immigration reform, federal law, U.S. Congress, President Obama,Cardinal Timothy Dolan, Archbishop JosénGomez, Leith Anderson, National Association ofEvangelicals, policy, U.S. Supreme Court, Arizonav. United States, state and local governments