Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Johnny Young: Arizona decision knocking down contentious law 'good and right'

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”
"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.


Anonymous said...

America's workers have been swindled by corporations, swindled by politicians, and now swindled by the Church. What an unholy mess you people have created!

Unknown said...

I suppose the Catholic Church thinks it's just fine that when illegals cross into this country, they use a 'coyote' who extorts them and rapes their women. I have yet to hear the Church issue anything against the human trafficking that is rampant in the Arizona area. The Church actually encourages this by encouraging Mexicans and others to come here illegally, thus enhancing the human trafficking industry. Shame on you!

Unknown said...

I do not understand how a single federal judge's ruling "knocking down" upholding the law is something to praise or "hail."

More than anything that disturbs me is representatives of the Church in the United States praising and advocating for violating laws that are just. And to compare this situation to Jim Crow laws is either ignorant or intentionally divisive. This has nothing to do with racism or dignity of the human person. This is about upholding and enforcing just laws that are being violating by the millions. When millions of people are illegally entering the country and the Federal Government refuses to enforce the laws, what are the states supposed to do?

Serious reform is called for, but not in the legislation of the enforcement of just laws is necessary. Furthermore I am sick of so many bishops placating to the Hispanic population in the US...this is the Catholic Church in the United States...emphasis on "United" not Hispanic. I find it interesting that the USCCB is so vocal about the "Hispanic issue" of migration, but are deafeningly silent about the plague of sexual immorality and children out of wedlock within the Hispanic population.
Citizenship is a civil right to be granted by the State not illegally taken by the individual.

Don Clemmer said...

Tom, your complaints are valid, but they do not accurately represent the bishops' position. The bishops do not promote breaking the law, and they certainly condemn human trafficking. The bishops are merely saying that the people who are here need to be dealt with humanely. The bishops argue that, with comprehensive immigration reform, fewer people will resort to crossing illegally, thereby reducing the harm of human trafficking to immigrants.

Don Clemmer
Assistant Director of Media Relations
United States Conference of Catholic Bishops

Unknown said...

Tom,Amen. I am shamed by the Church in the United States when the USCCB's Department of Migration and Refugee Services speaks to the public like this. The saving grace is that some bishops do understand the real issues of honoring the law and real immigration reform.
Mr. Young's arrogant comments are often overstatements of representing all bishops, and represent political commentary than guidance on faith and morals.

Unknown said...

Mr. Clemmer,
I thought that some bishops have called for just correction for those who have violated the laws? Yet from Mr. Young's comments and many others coming out of the USCCB, I would think that every US Bishop is in favor of violating the federal laws that Arizona is crying out to be enforced. Why else does Mr. Young unfairly refer to the Jim Crow laws? This puts little to no emphasis on the humane treatment, and places all emphasis on the issue of legality.
Furthermore many comments coming out of the USCCB have not been about the "humane" treatment of illegal immigrants. For example how often do USCCB statements refer to the illegal immigrants as "undocumented migrants" and the like. The change in language is important because it dismisses the illegality of their actions.

Diana said...

I find it extremely sad and frightening that some are ecstatic about the fact that the United States Supreme Court just ruled that a state is not allowed to enforce immigration laws already in place.

We can do nothing in this country without identification, that is, except commit illegal acts.

So sad.

RACHEL said...

What part of ILLEGAL don't the bishops and Mr, Young understand? The bishops need to go an address Mexico's Congress and urge them to provide the people jobs so they won't continue to burden the hospitals,economy,jails,ect,here. Why don't the bishops concentrate on that insteadm of helping the president divide this country, Again,ILLEGAL IS ILLEGAL! MEXICO IS90% CATHOLIC PREACH TO THEM AND THE CARTELS,

Christopher said...

I understand and appreciate the obligation of more prosperous nations to welcome foreigners that are in search of security and livelihood that may not be available in their country of origin (CCC 2241). Unknowingly, countries that act in such charitable ways are representing some of the best values of Christianity. Additionally, public authorities in the receiving country are bound to protect those whom they receive. However, illegal immigration does not allow a country to RECEIVE the immigrant in a charitable manner, but creates enmity between the two. A legal procedure allows for an immigrant to be received appropriately and protected as a guest and prospective citizen.

The church has long recognized political authorities to subject the “right to immigrate” to “various juridical conditions.” It also charges those who wish to immigrate with the responsibility to “obey the laws “of the country that receives them (CCC 2241). Respect for the legal process of immigration and the laws of the receiving country cannot be observed only after the immigrant has ILLEGALLY entered the country.

I would say, in agreement with the Church, that there instances where laws may be contrary to reason and therefore become unjust. However, citizens (and foreigners) may not just choose to ignore laws on impulse; they may only do it “defend their rights against an abuse of authority” (GS 74,5). The Church has already established that it is within a nation’s right to establish immigration laws; it is not an abuse of authority. Therefore, since it is not an abuse of authority, citizens (and foreigners) are “bound in conscience to obey” (GS 74, 4). This is not the message we are hearing from our bishops, although it is quite consistent with Church teaching.

Elena LaVictoire said...

OK so what is so inhumane about having to carry your papers? I have to carry a driver's license and proof of insurance. Oh the humanity!!!!

musculars said...

Even if I were disagree with the decision I respect the law and the judge who made this decision because I have a profond regard for the Constitution.
It is ironic that in the decision regarding the overthrow of prop 8, Sister Walsh has so little regard for Judge Walker and the constitution in an opinion written in the Washington Post.

It is a despicable article not so much in its disagreement but in its miscaraterizations and outright lies about the Judge's exhaustive ruling.
The bishops who have spoken out against this ruling have also done so in a manner disrespectful of our constitutional form of government and in the case of California courts have in the support of prop 8, undermined the judicial system and its role of protection of minorities. Their lack of restraint has put at risk not only the ecumenical relationships with the mainline protestant bodies, maligned if not severed evangelization in the gay and lesbian communities but also endangered the civil liberties of catholics in their disregard and outright contempt for the civil liberties of and the equal protection laws for the gay and lesbian minority.

In fairness the Church should relinquish its tax exempt status because of its overt political advocacy to enshrine Catholic dogma into the Constitution running roughshod over the citizenry that does not share its beliefs.