Arizona’s immigration law: Where’s the Christian compassion?

Matt McClain FOR THE WASHINGTON POST Maria Uribe of Phoenix, AZ holds a cross outside the US Supreme Court as … Continued

Matt McClain


Maria Uribe of Phoenix, AZ holds a cross outside the US Supreme Court as she and others protest Arizona SB 1070 on Wednesday April 25, 2012 in Washington, DC. The law, which was intended to crack down on illegal immigration was heard Wednesday by the U.S. Supreme Court.

While all state preambles acknowledge God, only eight states directly or indirectly also name God in their state motto. Arizona is among the eight, as they declare “Ditat Deus,” or “God enriches.” This week, many of us will offer a special prayer that God will enrich Arizona and America with immigration reform that honors the rule of law and respects our Christian traditions in providing a sustainable solution that is not contradictory, but compassionate and comprehensive.

The faith community is one of many groups intensely interested in the intervention of the Supreme Court, which heard oral arguments today regarding the “papers, please” Arizona law known as SB1070. The fact that the highest court will weigh in at this preliminary injunction stage implies several things. It seems clear that the members have been discussing the issue and are confident that they have a majority opinion to render. With Elena Kagan recusing herself, a 4-4 deadlock could result, but the justices surely would not waste their time if such an outcome were even remotely possible. Instead of their typical modus operandi of allowing lower court decisions to percolate for a time before asserting themselves, the justices seem bent on stemming the tide of similar laws from states tired of the federal government’s failure to address immigration reform. The fed’s suit against SB 1070 led to the 9th circuit blocking key provisions of the law, but the Supreme Court will now intervene and help decide for the nation whether this law—and others that mirror it—truly are usurpations of the federal government’s right to enforce immigration law.

Most ironic in this ongoing saga is that much of the impetus for the law, fears of rampant increases in illegal immigration and violence from the undocumented, have never materialized. In fact, a Pew study just released suggests that the net migration flow from Mexico has stopped, and may have even reversed, with more returning to their land than coming to America. Crime statistics in Arizona follow national patterns, which suggest that the undocumented are less likely to commit a crime than the general population. Of course, the Spanish were in Arizona nearly 500 years ago, and the migration of peoples across fluctuating borders in the region has continued for centuries. Some of the earliest Hispanic visitors were priests who came with a message of hope and peace, a message that Hispanic and Anglo clergy alike pray will guide decisions that affect some of the most vulnerable and marginalized within the borders of the “Grand Canyon State.”

And later this week, the community of Clarksdale, Arizona will “celebrate the state’s Centennial and Hispanic culture” with an event they are calling the “Grande Fiesta.” Celebrating Hispanics the same week that the U.S. Supreme Court reviews Arizona laws that clearly target this same group is but one of the many ironies that shape this state. Arizona may have been inaugurated on February 14th, but few Latinas/os are “feeling the love” that first-governor Hunt promised in 1912 when he pledged a “golden rule administration” in the territory “last to be surrendered to civilization by the red man.”

Contiguous America’s final state may have drifted from a “do unto others” philosophy, and is perhaps reserving its Christian compassion for those with legal residency.

-Dr. Carlos Campo is president of Regent University in Virginia Beach and a first generation Cuban-American.

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  • tony55398

    A great many of these illega aliens are here because of the free trade agreements.

  • tony55398

    These illegal Mexicans are some of the best workers out there. The farmers will be crying tears when they can no longer pay less then the minimum wage.

  • paddyofirnacher

    Mr. Campo: I find it quite amazing that people holding high positions in universities and colleges have such sophomoric reasoning and runaway myopia when trying, and failing, to make a cogent argument about immigration. Your so-called “irony” is no irony at all and if you weren’t so caught up in your desperation to make a point that simply isn’t there, you would have acknowledged what we all know — that the flow of illegal immigrants back to Mexico is the result of (a) a bad economy, (b) no jobs and (c) a crackdown or threat of crackdown by border states.And in that respect, the laws prohibiting illegal immigrants from working here will obviously have the desired results even in economic good times. There’s no sense in my repeating what 65 to 70% of the population of the U.S. believes already about the devastating economic and legal effects of illegal immigration. The Supreme Court justices properly made that argument on Wednesday. So let me just say something of a more personal nature. There are many ways to categorize people, but one way is to separate them into two groups — those who believe in the rule of law and who subscribe to the view that the law is there for everyone and those who believe there are two sets of laws in life. One for them, and one for everyone else. Illegal immigrants, who carefully plot their violation of federal law by crossing the border without the proper documents, fall into that latter category. You can spin it any way you wish, but one thing is inescapable. These people have no respect for the law. They are unwilling to go through the proper immigration channels because they think they’re special. Legal immigration? That’s for suckers. These are not warm, cuddly, freedom-loving people just looking for a better way of life. These are exactly the sort of people we don’t need in the U.S.

  • WmarkW

    Mexico is NOT a gulag. Denying its citizens the right to remain, work, and consumer public resources (e.g. education and health care) is not a violation of anyone’s human rights. If you want the USA to help Mexico better develop its economy and political systems, then I’m listening. But our country is not their social safety net.

  • AngelicaS

    If you can’t complete in business by complying with the law and without partaking of the blackmarket labor scheme, THEN YOU SHOULD NOT BE IN BUSINESS!

  • FutureView2010

    The goal of SB1070 is attrition through enforcement — not punishment. The police have no intention of chasing down people just to check their citizenship.

    The problem, especially in border states, is decades of lax enforcement has led to an Hispanic community now infused with a great contingent of illegal residents. It seems every Hispanic I know has a friend, relative or loved one that is here illegally. Has the government re-created the very same problems that led to the last blanket amnesty? Yep. Will granting amnesty fix anything? No.

    The Phoenix paper interviewed Hispanics prior to the law’s passage. Their greatest fear was legal Hispanics being caught with illegals in their cars or homes. One person stated, that police can’t enter an Hispanic neighborhood on a domestic disturbance call or respond to a loud party without encountering undocumented immigrants.

    Its this co-mingling that is the cause for Hispanic paranoia. There seems to be a feeling of guilt by association. And, of course, there is an easy cry of racism to disguise their desire to protect their loved ones.

    I do empathize with their plight. I know that it is easy to say that the legal Hispanics are welcome in Arizona, but 560,000 illegals are not. But I also understand that is telling the Hispanic community to lose 20% of its population.

    But actions have consequences. What did they think would happen?

  • usapdx

    Why cannot the farmers pay a American wage? Note that most of these plus 12 MILLION UNLAWFUL ENTRY PEOPLE do not work on farm but on good jobs as their UNLAWFUL EMPLOYERS pay them a scab wages as the tax payers pick up the differance of their tab. Yesterday on national news media, they did a study on AZ where as the AZ state tax payers pays just under a BILLION DOLLARS for AZ unlawful entry people last year. IKE did right. REGAN was WRONG! Obama’s El Paso border speech was very wrong. To get rid of the UNLAWFUL ENTRY PEOPLE , get their UNLAWFUL EMPLOYERS is the key.

  • worldcitizen6

    Many Hispanics in USA have legal papers and others not just as other immigrants from Europe, Asia, India, etc, so why targeting specific profile? USA was founded from immigrants and they were welcomed from Indians to this land, so why the government wants to target immigrants ?,so instead of support this law, the government should provide more jobs for the patrol and leave the people who already settle here (with family and children) in peace as the Indians did with all of you . Immigration is part of history of this country and will be the future always. Diversity of people and cultures bring the core of this country. Economic grows as the population grows. There is no growing economic without people. Not Hitlers , PEACE , DON’T FORGET YOUR THANSGIVING!

  • worldcitizen6

    Many Hispanics in USA have legal papers and others not just as other immigrants from Europe, Asia, India, etc, so why targeting specific profile? USA was founded from immigrants and they were welcomed from Indians to this land, so why the government wants to target immigrants ?,so instead of support this law, the government should provide more jobs for the patrol and leave the people who already settle here (with family and children) in peace as the Indians did with all of you . Immigration is part of history of this country and will be the future always. Diversity of people and cultures bring the core of this country. Economic grows as the population grows. There is no growing economic without people. Not Hitlers , PEACE , DON’T FORGET YOUR THANSGIVING!

  • two4three2

    No one is targeting immigrants. They are targeting illegal aliens. There is a big difference between the two. Legal immigrants have a right to be here—illegal aliens have no business being here—and you know it, too.

  • usapdx

    Bear in mind that this 2012 and that the USA has been invaded by over 12 MILLION UNLAWFUL ENTRY PEOPLE that are not immigrants but criminal by their first step into the USA, What are national borders and laws for world wide? Get real worldcitizen6.

  • usapdx

    People that are in the USA under one of the thrirteen federal work programs or a green card are LAWFUL entry people. People that have enter the USA UNLAWFULLY carry the nick name ILLEGALS account they are UNLAWFUL ENTRY PEOPLE.. No human has a right to enter any nation unlawfully other then by a act of war. tony55398, you are wrong.

  • Norski

    Why is this author incapable of seeing the difference between welcoming the legal, law abiding Stranger and welcoming the law-breaking Illegal Immigrant? Does not Christianity expect an equal dose of responsibility and accountability for every exhortation of love thy neighbor? Is there any place in the Bible where God says go forth and commit crimes – identity theft, fraud, and illegal entry? Where is the Bible passage that says the ends justify the means? Or that if you want to break a law you should do it then demand amnesty from the consequences of breaking that law? Is not breaking the law because you covet something your neighbor has, whether it be his job or his possessions, a sin? Is not identity fraud bearing false witness? Is not using your children as a shield to avoid the consequences of your acts an avoidance of the need to humble yourself, ask forgiveness, and accept the consequences of your actions? Is not forgiving unrepentant sin the same as condoning that sin, and thus participating in that sin?

    These are the questions that plague our times. Times when far too many people think that if it feels good it must be moral and right. But sometimes moral and right is not the feel good thing. The money changers in the Temple so many years ago found out that just because you do it in church does not necessarily make it the right. When did Jesus ever support such variable morality?

    Leviticus 19:11 – “Do not steal. Do not lie. Do not deceive one another.”
    Leviticus 19:15 – “Do not pervert justice; do not show partiality to the poor or favoritism to the great, but judge your neighbor fairly.”
    Leviticus 19:17 – “Rebuke your neighbor frankly so you will not share in his guilt.”

    In Matthew 5:17-20 Jesus said: “Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them. I tell you the truth, until heaven and earth disappear, not the smallest letter, not the least stroke of a pen, will by any means disappear from

  • Norski

    I am not aware of any place in the Bible where God says go forth and commit crimes – identity theft, fraud, illegal entry; and I am not aware of any place in the Bible where it says that the ends justify the means. Nor am I aware of any place in the Bible where is says it is okay to misrepresent other people’s viewpoints and call people names, such as racist, xenophobe, nativist.

    Luke 20:45-47 Then, in the hearing of all the people, He said to His disciples, “Beware of the scribes, who desire to go around in long robes, love greetings in the marketplaces, the best seats in the synagogues, and the best places at feasts, who devour widows’ houses, and for a pretense make long prayers. These will receive greater condemnation.”

    Luke 6:41-45 “Why do you look at the speck that is in your brother’s eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye? Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Brother, let me take out the speck that is in your eye,’ when you yourself do not see the log that is in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take out the speck that is in your brother’s eye. For there is no good tree which produces bad fruit, nor, on the other hand, a bad tree which produces good fruit. For each tree is known by its own fruit. For men do not gather figs from thorns, nor do they pick grapes from a briar bush. The good man out of the good treasure of his heart brings forth what is good; and the evil man out of the evil treasure brings forth what is evil; for his mouth speaks from that which fills his heart.

  • 8339ttm

    Farmers have been crying tears, since we out lawed slavery and indentured servants. They can get an unlimited number of legal workers thru various federal Ag, visa programs, but illegal workers are cheaper.

    Let the farms with illegal labor go “out of business”. It will improve prices for the farmers using legal workers.

  • infinity555

    The lead attorney Paul Clement, for the State of Arizona, pushed two arguments at the hearing. First, this administration failure to enforce immigration laws has caused a calamity in Arizona that made it indispensable to enact SB 1070. Second, SB 1070 is not preempted since it does not conflict with federal law or fabricate its own system of immigration rulings. Instead it emulates federal law and aids the central government to impose it.

    The recent poll about the Arizona’s Support Our Law Enforcement and Safe Neighborhoods Act, SB 1070 shows:
    • 65% of voters favor the law, while 31% oppose it.

    • 84% of Republicans favor Arizona’s law, while 46% of Democrats do. A 51% majority of Democrats opposes the law.

    • Independents favor the law by a 40 percentage-point margin, 67% in favor, 27% in opposition.

    • 72% of voters who live in the West and 69% of voters who live in the Midwest approve of the Arizona immigration law, compared to 61% of voters who live in other regions of the country.

    • No administration or its predecessors have secured the border fence. Both political parties have failed miserably to protect this country from the illegal alien occupation. Additionally the American voter must drive, track and use the severe pressure of their vote to verbally intimidate every Republican, Democrat and Liberal, informing them that they will unseat them. It is imperative that whatever the outcome of the Arizona court conflict, is to force passage of E-Verify. E-Verify mandated law would authenticate whether somebody can get employment or not? Other persons flagged will have the choice of clearing up their problem with the Social Security administration near them?

  • infinity555

    • Voters must demand from GOP speaker John Boehner, to stop blocking the bipartisan E-Verify “THE LEGAL WORKFORCE ACT” from being initiated in Congress by Texas Senator Lamar Smith. Taxpayers are continuously afflicted at the hands of dishonest politicians who have sold us into financial bondage by allowing illegal immigration to persist almost unimpeded in coming here. A second law to support The Legal Workforce Act H.R. 2885 is to amend the Birthright Citizenship Act of 2011 (H.R.140); the country cannot maintain in subsidizing billions of dollars being extracted from the 50 states? Not just the bad politicians should be thrown out of office, but state Governors, Mayors, Judges and all elected officials, and substitute them with Fresh Tea Party leaders who will insure everybody gets their fair share of the American Dream and enforce all laws attributed to the Constitution and the Rule of Law.

    • The consequences of expectant Mothers smuggled across our border fence, who fly in just to take advantage of the U.S. unfunded mandates laws for hospital deliveries that taxpayers are on the hook. Don’t know who to phone in Washington, and then call 202-224-3121? The switchboard will connect you with your Representatives aid, and then you tell him you’re angry? Every prospective contender, including Mitt Romney would be well advised to read the immigration sullen statistics advanced by “The Heritage Foundation”. According to American Federation of Immigration Reform (FAIR) there is a 2.5 Trillion dollars price tag to legitimize the 20 million plus Illegal’s who have already settled here? All patriotic Americans, citizens or legal residents and should join your local TEA PARTY chapter. The Tea Party is the people’s party and it welcomes every citizen and lawful resident who came to America legally. On the American Patrol website, covers the illegal alien issue, but a daily helping of the e-media from the National media, revealing everything that is against “the Rule

  • infinity555

    During this time of political uncertainty, with the two major parties struggling with each other? The conflict for the minds of the American people continues over each side ideologies, with no compromise in sight. Whether it’s about ObamaCare already being considered by the high court or the latest confrontation relating to Arizona’s right to defend its citizens against the overwhelming illegal alien invaders and its massive costs.

    With the state of Arizona fighting for its very existence from the illegal alien occupation, and the influx of criminals that swept throughout America as well and then additionally having to defend its immigration enforcement law, known as SB70. That when Arizona came under fire from the Obama administration’s Justice Department and have not stood cautious to strong-armed behavior of radicalized by Attorney General Eric Holder and his Liberal peons. It is looked upon with respect by the majority of states by going it alone and not being humbled by the U.S. Government. But not the mainstream media who has a deep core of Leftist editorial staff who are very persuasive, with their unreported news of the incessant rise of illegal migrant and immigrant drunk driver, splashing citizens blood of the highways. The murders, the rapes, the robberies, child molestations of criminals, where many have been released back into society or have returned after deportation numerous times.

    Sanctuary states like California, Nevada, New York and cities as San Francisco, Los Angeles, Denver are very critical of police enforcement in other states and although these Liberal strongholds have rushed to use incendiary remarks, against Arizona and its counterparts in the Southeast. It seems logical that Sanctuary State arguments are in fact inflammatory, because their leniency has caused the overwhelming effect of foreign nationals pouring into their states and their overlooked pandering of these people. Now they are very nervous because with the promise

  • infinity555

    But under the growing list of Tea Party membership growth in thousands of chapters nationwide, the Democratic obstructionists could be unseated from Congress, along with the Liberals disguised within their ranks. With the very probability of SCOTUS pronouncement being for Arizona, it could send a ripple effect for the majority of the 50 states, to enact similar policies. STATES AS CALIFORNIA WOULD FIND EVEN MORE FOREIGN NATIONALS ARRIVING AND THEIR HUGE WELFARE DEFICITS SKYROCKETING. This being true a mass exodus could be accomplished as large enough numbers of illegal aliens unable to survive, would decide to leave the country. This would save the country an estimated $113 billion a year for public assistance programs, which would be an advantage for our own low income poor and disabled. All the unfunded mandate money would remain in State coffers.

    The comprehensive law, as written, accomplishes four main things:

    1. Requires police officers to check the immigration status of any individual during “any lawful stop, detention, or arrest … in the enforcement of any other law or ordinance” where the officer has reasonable suspicion that the individual is an illegal alien. If it’s determined that the individual is an illegal alien, Immigration and Customs Enforcement or Border Patrol must be notified.
    3. Forbids any state agency, county, city, town, or political subdivision from enacting sanctuary policies for illegal aliens.
    5. Requires all aliens to carry their registration document at all times.
    7. Makes it a misdemeanor crime for any individual picking up day laborers to block or impede the flow of traffic and also makes it a misdemeanor crime for an illegal alien to look for work in a public place or block or impede traffic in the pursuit of work.

  • ex-Navy

    I don’t understand the writer’s point. why, as a Christian, should I tolerate and support illegal aliens flooding into our country? The illegals should be treated fairly and humanely as should any other criminal. There is no reason for ANY faith to support illegal activity.

  • MekhongKurt1

    “Where’s the Christian compassion,” Dr. Campo?

    Seems pretty obvious to me, Doctor. The state legislature and Governor told it to get it up and go.

    So, it got up and left.