Gov. Jan Brewer of Arizona today signed an immigration bill into law that would make the failure to carry immigration documents a crime. The law would also allow power to detain anyone suspected of being an illegal immigrant.
The New York Timesreports that Democratic politicians are wary of taking up legislation before the fall elections. House leaders have said that the they would be willing to take up immigration policy if the Senate produces a bill first.
Senate majority leader Harry Reid (D-Nevada), who also faces re-election, has pledged to pass an energy measure, and the Senate will likely hold confirmation proceedings this summer for a Supreme Court nominee.
After the jump, various evangelical groups respond to the legislation.
Rev. Jim Wallis, president and CEO of Sojourners
"The law signed today by Arizona Gov. Brewer is a social and racial sin, and should be denounced as such by people of faith and conscience across the nation. It is not just about Arizona, but about all of us, and about what kind of country we want to be. It is not only mean-spirited – it will be ineffective and will only serve to further divide communities in Arizona, making everyone more fearful and less safe. This radical new measure, which crosses many moral and legal lines, is a clear demonstration of the fundamental mistake of separating enforcement from comprehensive immigration reform. Enforcement without reform of the system is merely cruel. Enforcement without compassion is immoral. Enforcement that breaks up families is unacceptable. This law will make it illegal to love your neighbor in Arizona, and will force us to disobey Jesus and his gospel. We will not comply."
Rev. Samuel Rodriguez, president of the National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference
"Today, Arizona stands as the state with the most xenophobic and nativist laws in the country. We need a multi-ethnic firewall against the extremists in our nation who desire to separate us rather than bring us together. Shame on you Arizona Republicans and shame on you Senator John McCain for endorsing the legislation.
We call upon RNC Chairman Michael Steele to condemn this new law or Hispanic Americans will read the silence as a de facto endorsement and a purview of what will come if the GOP takes over Congress in 2010. Second, we call upon Attorney General Eric Holder to review this legislation since it's clearly a violation of constitutionally protected civil rights. If you are Hispanic in Arizona, you just became a suspect and open to police harassment. We call upon all Latinos and immigrants who are citizens in Arizona to defend their constitutionally protected rights."
New Evangelical Partnership for the Common Good
"Throughout the Bible, God commands us in no uncertain terms to show kindness and hospitality to the foreigner and the stranger. The deplorable anti-immigrant legislation signed by Arizona Governor Jan Brewer flouts these commandments by mandating racial profiling, criminalizing ministry to undocumented immigrants, separating immigrant families, and exacerbating a climate of fear and suspicion that pits neighbor against neighbor. We join with Evangelicals and people of conscience everywhere in denouncing this wholly unbiblical and immoral law."