U.S. Bishops, Other Denominations File Amicus Curiae Brief In Supreme Court Case Of Arizona Vs. United States

March 27, 2012 By Public Affairs Office

WASHINGTON—The U.S.Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) and several other Christian denominationsfiled an amicus curiae brief with theU.S. Supreme Court in the case of Arizona vs. United States, supporting theprinciple that the federal government controls the enactment and implementationof the nation’s immigration laws. The March 26 brief argued that the federalgovernment is in the best position to protect the well-established goals offamily unity and human dignity in the nation’s immigration system.

The brief also made the case that apatchwork of state laws could inhibit the Church’s mission to serve immigrants,thus impinging upon religious liberty. The Evangelical Lutheran Church ofAmerica, the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), and the Lutheran Immigration andRefugee Service joined the bishops in filing the brief.

Citing numerous examples of federalimmigration policies designed to further family unity and human dignity, thebrief argued that Arizona’s SB 1070 is not a solution to the problems infederal law and in fact creates more problems than it solves.

“The Conference has a stronginterest in ensuring that courts adhere to two important goals of federalimmigration law—the promotion of family unity and the protection of humandignity,” the brief stated.“The provisionsof SB 1070 at issue in this case would hinder these critical federal objectivesby replacing them with the single goal of reducing the number of undocumentedimmigrants in Arizona at all costs.”

The brief said that state laws suchas SB 1070 threaten to restrict the Church’s ability to provide pastoral andsocial service care to immigrants and their families, thus infringing upon theChurch’s religious liberty.

“The Catholic Church’s religiousfaith, like that of many religious denominations, requires it to offercharity—ranging from soup kitchens to homeless shelters—to all in need, whetherthey are present in this country legally or not. Yet SB 1070 and related stateimmigration laws have provisions that could….criminalize this charity… [or]exclude from that charity all those whose presence Arizona and other stateswould criminalize,” the brief argued.

The brief asked the Supreme Court toaffirm the judgment of the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuitin striking down the Arizona law.

The brief is available online: www.usccb.org/about/general-counsel/amicus-briefs/upload/state-of-arizona-v-united-states-of-america.pdf


Keywords: U.S. Supreme Court, USCCB, U.S. bishops,U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, immigration, brief, amicus curiae, Arizonavs. United States, Evangelical Lutheran Church of America, Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.),Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service, Christian denominations,comprehensive immigration reform, family unity, human dignity, federalgovernment, state laws, religious freedom, social services

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