Immigration legislation (SB 1070) has come to a boiling point as members from the Senate and even the Catholic Church have publicly voiced their opinion on Sen. Russell Pearce’s ostentatious immigration bill. The Arizona Immigration Bill was passed on Friday April 23, 2010. It gives lawmakers the power to stop and verify the immigration status of any person whom they suspect of being an illegal immigrant in the state. This new bill has been deemed the toughest immigration bill in U.S. history and was labeled as “misguided” by President Barack Obama.
An article by the Los Angeles Times chronicled the verbal assault Sen. Pearce launched on Los Angeles Cardinal Roger Mahony who voiced his disapproval of Pearce’s bill. Pearce is quoted as saying that Mahony is a “guy who’s been protecting child molesters and predators all of his life.” The sex abuse scandal of the Catholic Church leaves Cardinal Mahony and other Catholic leaders at an extreme vulnerability right now. One can argue that if the Catholic Church lives in a shattering glass house, it is unwise to throw stones. The Catholic Church has been a supporter of immigrant rights for decades so their criticism of Pearce’s legislation is expected. However, the untimeliness of Cardinal Mahony’s sentiments falls at an unpopular time for the Catholic Church since their reputation is tarnished from sex abuse scandals. Blog commenter’s are concluding that the Catholic Church is taking a firm stand against the bill because of the close ties that Latinos have with the Catholic Church. A majority of Latinos are Roman Catholic and if the Catholic Church does not defend the rights of Latinos at this time, the fear is that Latinos may harbor an ill sentiment towards the Catholic Church. However, voices from the Catholic Church have lost credibility with the sex abuse scandal. When one of the Catholic leaders speaks now, there will be an opponent to bring up the child molester scandal.
The immigration debate even has Washington on its heels. Latinos, and now a larger group of human rights allies, are protesting this bill. With elections for Senate coming up in the fall; Democrats need to move towards ratifying an immigration bill. According to the Wall Street Journal, “A comprehensive bill would include a path to citizenship for those in the U.S. illegally, a priority for immigrant advocates but something opponents deride as amnesty”. Democrats need to secure the Latino vote since 2/3 of the Latino population voted for Barack Obama. Senator Harry Reid of Nevada has decided to step up to the plate in action towards arriving at a consensus on the immigration issue. Harry Reid may not be the negotiator for such legislation since his comments on Barack Obama’s light skin and lack of Negro dialect. Cardinal Mahony was in the line of fire for verbal assaults by Sen. Pearce and now Reid will be suspected of harboring insincere motives behind immigration legislation. Negotiators of legislation are to appear neutral and unbiased. Reid has people questioning his neutrality with regards to immigration and race. He could end up foiling efforts of the Democratic Party. The Democrats should find another man for the job.
According to the Wall Street Journal, Obama has made several attempts to get GOP members for support of an immigration bill. But they are not reaching back to him. Protesters are gathering in Arizona from states as far away as Texas to rally against the legislation. Democratic Congressman Raul Grijalva of Arizona is asking that President Obama go against the legislation. Obama is consulting the Civil Rights Division of the Justice Department to ensure that such legislation is in fact legal. The U.S. government must come to an agreement on the immigration policy. Will this nation go forth with legislation that threatens civil liberties and goes against the “race equality” that it has boasted since Obama took office?
Alternet published an article on how to take action on SB 1070. Click here to read more.
Other Articles by Eryn on Immigration and Energy: