US Catholic Faith in Real Life

Anti-immigrant laws force tough decisions in Arizona and Nebraska

By Father Tom Joyce, CMF | Print this pagePrint | Email this pageShare

The Arizona lower house of the state legislature is poised to enact the toughest anti-immigration restrictions in the nation. A companion bill has already passed the state Senate. The bills would make the presence of an undocumented person in violation of trespass laws.

It also will be a crime to stand out in front of Home Depot, waiting to be picked up for a day job. The guy in the truck looking for day labor will also commit a crime by hiring an undocumented worker.

The police will have enhanced power to enforce the immigration laws that are being negligently prosecuted by the feds; they can pick up anyone they think is undocumented. It will also be a crime to give an undocumented person a ride - even if it's your sister. The final vote will come soon and the governor has promised to sign the bill. (See NY Times article.)

In Nebraska there is also an interesting development. It is one of the strongest anti-abortion states and for years extended prenatal care to undocumented women through Medicaid to save the fetus. The rational was that the assistance was not going to the mother who was ineligible, but to the child who was.

The federal government ruled that it was a benefit such women were not entitled to. When it was reported that some women denied the prenatal care would abort the child, pro-lifers rallied to pass a measure to continue the benefit to the undocumented women, even if the state had to use private funds. The Republican governor veto the measure.

Some pro-life legislators agreed, but used arguments that were unconvincing to the state Right-to-Life, forcing a generally conservative Republican constituency to choose between the right to the life of the unborn and aiding and abetting illegals. (See Washington Post article.)