Magazine article The Christian Century

Massive Protests, Faith Leaders, Oppose Harsh Steps against Illegals

Magazine article The Christian Century

Massive Protests, Faith Leaders, Oppose Harsh Steps against Illegals

Article excerpt

Rallying against a bill passed in the House of Representatives that would accelerate deportations, increase border security and treat illegal immigrants as felons, masses of immigrants appeared in multiple demonstrations in U.S. cities in March and April.

A more lenient reform bill was approved by the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee but fell victim to an impasse before the senators began a two-week break last month.

Catholic and mainline Protestant leaders have backed compassionate reform measures. Cardinal Roger Mahony of Los Angeles made national news early in the protest movement when he declared that he would defy any new law that made it a serious offense to give aid and comfort to immigrants lacking legal documents.

Republican leaders have been divided on whether to support President Bush's proposals for a guest worker program and new ways for immigrants to gain citizenship.

But there is a backlash against the roughly estimated 11 million immigrants who are in the U.S. illegally, a backlash exacerbated by the sight of Mexican flags waved by protesters. For a rally on the Washington Mall on April 10, at which Cardinal Theodore E. …

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