Immigration (04/11/06)

Above you will find, “H.R. 4437,”  the cartoon which Mike Konopacki drew in response to the draconian bill passed by the House of Representatives on December 16.  On page 50, Section 205 (b) 1, imposes fines and prison sentences on anyone abetting an alien who has reentered the country illegally. 

The  “Border Protection, Antiterrorism, and Illegal Immigration Control Act of 2005”  passed the House by a vote of 239 (including 36 Democrats) to 186..  The House Republican leadership could not have passed the measure without Democratic help, unless it pulled its past shenanigans, as in the case of  the refinery bill, and held the vote open and twisted arms until 10 or more of  the 17 dissenting Republicans joined the party line.  

The Senate received the bill December 17 and referred it to the Committee on the Judiciary on January 17.  The Senate failed to pass its own more moderate measure before the Easter recess.  In the meantime, H.R.  had started a debate within the Roman Catholic Church.

Back on Ash Wednesday, Cardinal Roger Mahony of the Archdiocese of Los Angeles, the nation’s largest, urged parishioners to devote the 40 days of Lent to fasting, prayer and reflection on the need for humane reform of immigration laws, As noted in the New York Times’s March 3 editorial, “The Gospel vs. H.R. 4437.”

Deal Hudson, a former Republican operative and Executive Director of the conservative Morley Institute for Church and Culture weighed in against the cardinal in a story entitled, “Is Cardinal Mahoney [sic] Right on Immigration?”  He quoted Catholic U.S. Representative Peter King (R-NY) accuses the Cardinal of “trivializ[ing] the issue”, and “encourag[ing] more illegal immigrants to break the law.”

Then on March 16, the Catholics for Faithful Citizenship issued a news release,  “Group Challenges Catholic GOP Operatives on Immigration Bill
Catholics for Faithful Citizenship backs Church in opposing controversial legislation” questioning Hudson.

According to its webpage, the organization, formed in 2004,

promotes education and involvement in the U.S. political process from a lens of social justice, just war policy and attention to the poor.

Here in Virginia, despite their social conservativism, the Bishops have problems with H.R. 4427.  On March 28,  Bishop Francis DiLorenzo of Richmond encouraged parishioners to write to Sens. John Warner and George Allen, asking for comprehensive reforms instead of just enforcement, Steve Neill, spokesman for DiLorenzo told  Pamela J. Podger for her March 29 Roanoke Times story, “House bill fight gets Roanoke area’s ear,” According to Podger, on March 17, DiLorenzo and Bishop Paul Loverde of Arlington sent letters to the senators.

Yesterday,  Fair Immigration Reform Movement  (FIRM), a project of the  Center for Community Change, sponsored the National Day of Action  for Immigration Justice.

While the mobilization received coverage in US Today, the Roanoke Times instead ran Will Lester’s April 0 Associated Press story on its front page, “Immigration Concerns Up New Poll Says.”

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