Ambassador Johnny Young, who heads the U.S. bishops’ Department of Migration and Refugee Services, hailed the July 28 federal court decision that knocked down the two most contentious aspects of the controversial Arizona law SB 1070. These objectionable points called for Az. police officers to check a person's immigration status while enforcing other laws and required immigrants to carry their residency documents at all times.
Young made his comments to Kevin Clarke of America Magazine, who posted them on the magazine’s blog “In All Things” http://www.americamagazine.org/blog/entry.cfm?blog_id=2&entry_id=3147
"Pleased, we are," was John Young’s reaction to the decision. "This is a good and rightful decision," he said.
"Our bishops made it very clear some weeks ago that we were not at all satisfied with this law . . . We would have been happy if the whole thing had been vitiated, but it was not," said Young, who was content to see that the most controversial aspects of the law had been thrown out. He called the decision a good outcome which suggests, whatever legal appeals may lie ahead, that the most potentially discriminatory components of SB 1070 will not survive further court scrutiny. Young said he would not be surprised to see the matter eventually end up before the U.S. Supreme Court before it is ultimately resolved.
Speaking as an African American who is old enough to remember America’s segregation era, Young compared the Arizona law, copycat state initiatives it inspired and the hundreds of municipal ordinances and laws on immigration to the hodgepodge of state and local Jim Crow laws that once enforced discrimination against African Americans. During segregation, "We had laws at every level," he said, laws that were respected by other states until the Jim Crow era was upended by a U.S. Supreme Court decision. Would he like to see a contemporary court similarly make straight the hundreds of localized laws and rulings on undocumented immigrants today? "That would be wonderful," Young said.