Cardinal Roger Mahony of LA, who’s assumed the point among US bishops regarding a Congressional bill that would update language in immigration law, has an op-ed in the New York Times on the topic today. Mahony’s initial criticisms of the bill on Ash Wednesday said that it would require all aid groups to request documentation from immigrants who seek their help, but after the bill’s congressional sponsors said the law only updates language so they can prosecute human traffickers, Mahony has changed his tack. Now he criticizes the bill as being too broadly written.
Providing humanitarian assistance to those in need should not be made a crime, as the House bill decrees. As written, the proposed law is so broad that it would criminalize even minor acts of mercy like offering a meal or administering first aid.
Current law does not require social service agencies to obtain evidence of legal status before rendering aid, nor should it. Denying aid to a fellow human being violates a law with a higher authority than Congress — the law of God.
So now he acknowledges that the bill doesn’t actually threaten the aid groups who provide assistance. I think everybody agrees that those who provide humanitarian assistance to the needy, illegal alien or not, should not be impeded. He says that what the bishops want is an overhaul of the immigration system. Amen! The question remains, however, how do we do that and what do we do with the millions of illegals already here?
Another view and prudential judgment