Chris Liu-Beers, Raleigh News & Observer
As you reported recently, Raleigh Police Chief Harry Dolan opposes the new Arizona law targeting immigrants because it undermines public safety. The N.C. Council of Churches agrees with Dolan and other law enforcement agencies that such draconian measures are both impractical and immoral.
This law allows any person to be stopped by police if there is reasonable suspicion of being undocumented. Encouraging these fearful sentiments is wrong. It sends us backward as a nation in a time when we need real solutions to move us forward.
The irony is that this bill actually creates a perilous mistrust between immigrant communities and law enforcement. The fear of speaking to police about any criminal activity increases the real threat to everyone’s safety.
Faith communities in particular are threatened by the new law, which states that those who “knowingly transport or harbor” undocumented immigrants will risk arrest. Driving the sick to a doctor, offering food to the hungry – part of what it means to be a person of faith – would be unlawful.
It’s time for President Barack Obama and Congress to pass just and humane comprehensive immigration reform so that other states don’t have to follow Arizona’s shameful lead.