My friend Tom Roach in Washington State forwarded this letter from the Arizona Catholic Conference which was released after Judge Bolton's decision in the Arizona case. I'm posting it because it has some language that I think is very helpful in the debate. The Bishops say
There must be a process - but not amnesty - for persons who have entered our country illegally to pursue legal status. This process must have proportionate consequences for the act of illegal entry, consequences that would include fines, learning English, and going to the "back of the line" to seek citizenship.
The idea needs to be repeated over and over again. This is not about amnesty. This is about what is the appropriate punishment for the people who have broken our immigration laws. Exile - the antis' only offered solution - is the equivalent of chopping off your hands for shoplifting. Fines, English tests, paying back taxes, community service, etc. are all reasonable responses to the offense. Once the debate is framed in those terms, the antis have a hard time sounding convincing. They use the term "amnesty" to make it sound like pro-immigration groups are offering a solution that contains no punishment for the illegal behavior. Not so and as that message penetrates, immigration reform will have a better chance of eventually happening.