Episcopal News Service reports:
Diocese of Alabama Bishop Henry N. Parsley Jr. has joined his Methodist and Roman Catholic counterparts in a federal lawsuit Aug. 1 aimed at stopping enforcement of the state's new immigration law.
Parsley; the Rev. William H. Willimon, bishop of the North Alabama Conference of the United Methodist Church, the Most Rev. Thomas J. Rodi, Roman Catholic archbishop of Mobile, and the Most Rev. Robert J. Baker, Roman Catholic bishop of Birmingham, said in their suit that they "have reason to fear that administering of religious sacraments, which are central to the Christian faith, to known undocumented persons may be criminalized under this law," according to a Birmingham News report.
The new law is set to go into effect Sept. 1.
Like Arizona's controversial SB1070, the Alabama measure aims to identify, prosecute and deport undocumented persons. It empowers law enforcement officials to check the immigration status of people they lawfully stop and whom they suspect are in the country illegally and mandates that prospective employers use E-verify, the U.S. government's electronic verification system for employers to check the legal status of potential workers.
But the Alabama law goes further. It is unique in requiring schools to determine, either through a review of birth certificates or sworn affidavit, the legal residency status of students.