by Joe Bollig
KANSAS CITY, Kan. — Concern about a proposed law’s impact on undocumented individuals led the Catholic bishops of Kansas to object to an immigration bill.
On March 14, the House Judiciary Committee voted not to move the bill forward.
Acting on behalf of the Kansas Catholic Conference, attorney Jeanne Gorman submitted the bishops’ testimony in opposition to HB 2372 (see sidebar) and offered her own testimony on March 10 to the committee.
While recognizing the rule of law, and the right and duty of the federal government to regulate the nation’s borders, the bishops decried this particular bill’s potential ill effects on individuals and families.
The bishops were specifically critical of Section 3 of the bill, which would make it unlawful to “intentionally conceal, harbor or shield an alien from detection in any place in this state, including but not limited to, any building or any means of transportation.”
This section could detrimentally impact the church’s mission, said the bishops.
“[The bill] would potentially criminalize the offering of assistance to a person here illegally by a representative of the church,” said the bishops. “We do not believe that a church should be held liable for ministering to an illegal immigrant in material and/or spiritual terms.”
Rather than this law, the bishops pled for broad reform of the current ineffective immigration laws, which they said impose unreasonable burdens on those who want to immigrate to the United States.
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