Archdiocese Local

Kansas bishops oppose proposed immigration bill

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.

About the author

Joe Bollig

Joe has been with The Leaven since 1993. He has a bachelor’s degree in communications and a master’s degree in journalism. Before entering print journalism he worked in commercial radio. He has worked for the St. Joseph (Mo.) News-Press and Sun Publications in Overland Park. During his journalistic career he has covered beats including police, fire, business, features, general assignment and religion. While at The Leaven he has been a writer, photographer and videographer. He has won or shared several Catholic Press Association awards, as well as Archbishop Edward T. O’Meara awards for mission coverage. He graduated with a certification in catechesis from a two-year distance learning program offered by the Maryvale Institute for Catechesis, Theology, Philosophy and Religious Education at Old Oscott, Great Barr, in Birmingham, England.

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