Jesuit Father Ted Arroyo said that protesting Alabama’s new immigration law isn’t an act of politics, it’s an act of faith.
“It’s challenging us to welcome the alien and show mercy to the stranger,” said Fr. Arroyo, rector of the Jesuit community at Spring Hill College, “because what we do for them we do for God.”
Arroyo spoke on August 27 to about 100 people gathered in Lyons Park in Mobile who sang, prayed and created signs expressing their distress with the bill approved by the Legislature and signed into law by Gov. Robert Bentley in June.
The law allows local police to detain people suspected of being in the United States illegally; requires public schools to inquire into immigration status of students; makes it a crime for an illegal immigrant to seek work; and makes it a crime to knowingly transport or harbor an illegal immigrant.
The U.S. Department of Justice filed a lawsuit in U.S. District Court in Birmingham to block the bill’s implementation. The case is pending.
Arroyo told the crowd to find out stories of their ancestors’ and families’ immigrations to new places. He also urged people to volunteer to help new immigrants in their own communities.
“If you meet the immigrant and welcome the stranger, soon enough they will be strangers no more,” Arroyo said.
Visit al.com for more on the protest.