SB1070 Update: Tucson-based SB1070 story deserves local coverage

by David Safier

When Catholic Bishop Gerald F. Kicanas of Tucson went to D.C. with a number of other Arizona religious leaders right after SB1070 was passed and talked to McCain, telling him why they opposed the law on religious grounds, McCain didn't like what they said.

In other words, McCain told the religious leaders to stuff it.

Oh, you didn't read about the visit in the Star? That's probably because our paper of record didn't consider it ink-worthy, even though it was in papers in a number of other cities. You had to go to El Blog (and possibly other local websites) to get a Tucson perspective on the story.

Now the Star has a second chance.

Bishop Gerald F. Kicanas of Tucson, Arizona on Wednesday testified before Congress on the need for immigration reform, characterizing it as “ultimately a humanitarian issue.” Emphasizing the dangers and difficulties migrants face, he called for the legalization of migrants who face a “proportionate penalty.”

Will the Star decide this story is worth putting ink to newsprint? I don't know. However, the Star does have an AP photo of Kicanas at the hearing on its website . . .

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. . . so I live in hope.

More from Kicanas:

“I witness the human consequences of our broken immigration system in my diocese’s social service programs, hospitals, schools, and parishes. Regularly, anxious and troubled immigrants come to ask our priests or employees for assistance for a loved one—a parent who has been detained, a child who has lost a parent, or, tragically, a family member who has lost a loved one in the harsh Arizona desert.”

[snip]

Bishop Kicanas also addressed the Arizona legislation SB 1070, saying he believed the law reflects “frustration” with Congress for not addressing the issue of immigration reform.

“The message is to break the partisan paralysis and act now.  Without Congressional action on immigration reform—sooner rather than later—other states will pass similar laws, to the detriment of our nation,” he commented.

The bishop also reported observing “hardening attitudes, deepening divisions, and growing rancor” on immigration.

In his written testimony, Bishop Kicanas urged the minimization of “harsh rhetoric” in the immigration debate and condemned terms that characterize immigrants as “less than human.” “Such harsh rhetoric has been encouraged by talk radio and cable TV, for sure, but also has been used by public officials, including members of Congress,” he commented.

Real reform, according to the bishop, would legalize undocumented migrants and their families in the U.S., provide legal means for migrants to enter the U.S. to work, and reform family reunification. Further, the “root causes” of migration should be addressed so that migrants may remain in their homelands.

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