The Immigration Debate

Alabama church leaders
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The Story

1. Alabama's new immigration law, signed in June, has attracted national attention for its broad restrictions on those who are in the United States illegally and for its demands on employers, landlords, schools and others. See The Christian Science Monitor: Is Alabama's new illegal immigration law really the toughest?


2. Lawsuits were filed to block the new law from taking effect by:

3. A federal judge temporarily blocked enforcement of the law, scheduled to go into effect on September 1, until at least September 29, the day after she said she would issue a ruling related to the lawsuits.

The Faith Leaders

Episopal Bishop Bishop Henry N. Parsley Jr.

While I recognize the need for sensible immigration reform, this Anti-Immigration Law is an extreme law that does not respect the dignity of all God's people and would criminalize the church's ministry and hinder the free exercise of our faith, specifically the right to follow the Biblical mandate to welcome the stranger and share God's love with others, regardless of their immigration status. As a priest and follower of Christ, this Law will affect me in the day-to-day exercise of my faith and the ministries of the clergy and people of this diocese. Even at this juncture, the Law is having a chilling affect on our ministries by making immigrant persons afraid to be involved in both church and community.


Roman Catholic Archbishop Thomas J. Rodi

The Most Reverend Thomas J. RodiI did not wish to enter into a legal action against the government of Alabama. It is not my temperament to look for an argument. I prayed fervently about this matter, and my prayer kept bringing me back to the motto I chose ten years ago for my bishop’s coat of arms: “The love of Christ impels us” (2 Cor 5:14) …
No law is just which prevents the proclamation of the Gospel, the baptizing of believers, or love shown to neighbor in need. I do not wish to stand before God and, when God asks me if I fed him when he was hungry or gave him to drink when he was thirsty, to reply: yes, Lord, as long as you had the proper documents.


United Methodist Bishop William H. Willimon

While I know that Christians and others of good will may hold differing opinions about Alabama's immigration law, I have become convinced, after numerous discussions with our pastors and churches involved in missions work, that Alabama's immigration law may criminalize good Christian citizens seeking to live out their faith, in works of mercy and love to some of our sisters and brothers in need. I believe the law, as currently drafted, inhibits the rights of Alabama citizens to freely practice their Christian faith, specifically the right to welcome and love all of God's children without regard to their immigration status.


Happening Now

Brian Lawson, The Huntsville Times, September 3: Three lawsuits against Alabama immigration law to be decided separately by federal judge

Through the Prism of National Security:
Major Immigration Policy and Program Changes in the Decade since 9/11

Migration Policy Institute (MPI) Fact Sheet (August 2011)
Details the major immigration policy, budget and organizational changes that have occurred as an outgrowth of 9/11.