The Rt. Rev. Henry Parsley and the Methodist and Roman Catholic bishops have written to the Governor of Alabama The Montgomery Advertiser imploring him to work for repeal of the current law on undocumented persons. Business leaders have also discovered the high economic price of the law.
Saying he was in their prayers, leaders of the Catholic, Episcopal and Methodist churches in Alabama sent a letter to Gov. Robert Bentley on Monday urging him to support efforts to repeal the state’s strict immigration law, known as HB 56.
The letter, signed by three bishops who sued to block HB 56 in August, called the statute a violation of the Constitution and said it imposed burdens on immigrants, law enforcement and small farmers.
The letter was signed by Catholic Archbishop Thomas J. Rodi of Mobile; Catholic Bishop Robert Baker of Birmingham; Methodist Bishop William Willimon; Episcopal Bishop Henry Parsley; Cletus Meagher, Abbott of the Benedictine Society of Alabama and Janet Flemming, Prioress of the Benedictine Sisters of Cullman.
Augusta Dowd, an attorney representing Parsley in the lawsuit, said authors of the letter wanted to address Bentley during the holiday season.
“He has already indicated he believes changes are needed,” she said. “The extent of that, we don’t know, but frankly, that was a courageous move and we’re hoping he’ll continue to show the courage to address the injustices he sees as well.”
In their lawsuit, the bishops were particularly concerned with blocking Section 13 of the law, which made it a crime to knowingly “conceal, harbor or shield” an undocumented immigrant. The leaders argued that the language was broad enough to make it a criminal act to have religious gatherings where undocumented immigrants were present and could leave those extending faith-based services to the undocumented vulnerable to prosecution. U.S. District Court Judge Sharon Blackburn enjoined the provision in September.
FOX news Latino has more on the law and its effects.