May Day: Marching for Immigration Reform and Standing Against Arizona Law SB1070
April 27th, 2010
On May 1, people in communities all over the world will commemorate International Workers’ Day, also known as May Day. For Catholics, it is the feast of feast of St. Joseph the Worker which was established by Pope Pius XII in 1955, dedicated to honor the dignity of all workers and labor.
Tens of thousands of immigrants, faith leaders, labor groups, community business leaders and immigrant rights groups will once again hold major demonstrations from coast to coast in the US in support of comprehensive immigration reform. The US Catholic Bishops’ Justice for Immigrants program has dedicated the weekend of May 1-2 as a time of prayer for immigrants.
The theme for the May Day March and Rally is to demand action from Congress and the Obama Administration on the following:
- Immigration Reform legislation in 2010 for workers, families and youth,
- A stop to the deportations and family separations
- Protection of workers’ rights and good jobs for all
Preparations for May Day are being made in the midst of a national uproar over the signing of the nation’s strictest anti-immigration law – SB1070 in Arizona. Governor Jan Brewer’s signing of the law has shaken the majority of Americans and sent a massive political aftershock to Congress in Washington, D.C.
Arizona’s controversial new immigration law allows police to ask anyone they wish for documents proving they’re in the state legally, raising fears of legalized racial profiling by a government agency.
Some of the people who are defending SB1070 ironically publicly champion an ideology of small and limited government involvement in people’s personal lives. Yet, SB 1070 allows government enforcement agencies to detain anybody “if there is reason to suspect they are illegal immigrants,” and requires legal immigrants to carry paperwork proving their status at all times – a significant expansion of governmental and law enforcement powers. However, groups like Arizona Interfaith Network, a group of conservative Evangelical, Catholic and Mormon religious leaders are not supporting this new law.
Cardinal Roger Mahony of the Archdiocese of Los Angeles reacting to the Arizona law wrote of it as “…the country’s most retrogressive, mean-spirited, and useless anti-immigrant law”, and asked, “Are children supposed to call 911 because one parent does not have proper papers? Are family members and neighbors now supposed to spy on one another, create total distrust across neighborhoods and communities, and report people because of suspicions based upon appearance?”
The Chairman of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops Committee on Migration, Arizona, Bishop John C. Wester of Salt Lake City, issued a statement April 27, opposing the enactment and implementation of Arizona SB 1070, which criminalizes undocumented immigrants. A full text of the statement is available here: U.S Catholic Bishops Joins Arizona Bishops In Decrying Anti-Immigrant Measure, Calls For Comprehensive Reform.