Rhode Island Roman Catholic bishop Thomas Tobin stood up to Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) in a formal letter this week calling on them to halt mass immigration raids until the nation adopts comprehensive immigration reform. In an AP news story he says agents who refuse to participate in such raids on moral grounds deserve to be treated as conscientious objectors! Yes, he calls on the feds "to fully respect the well-founded principles of conscientious objection" in such cases.
Hooray! A leader with some leadership. (It's getting to be a rare commodity.)
Tobin puts the Christian spin on this:
"We often ask, 'What would Jesus do?' I know for sure what Jesus would not do, would be to sweep into a community, gather up large numbers of people, separate them from one another and deport them to another country. In my own mind, in my own conscience, that's crystal clear: Jesus would not do that."
ICE was not pleased. Spokeswoman Kelly Nantel said the agency respects Tobin but believes his diocese "would be better served by helping individuals to comply with the law or working to change those laws rather than asking law enforcement agents not to enforce it."
If ICE agents are also former viewers of the television series "Hogan's Heroes" perhaps Ms. Nantel would cite Sargent Schultz of said program as an ICE authority on enforcement:
"I know nothing! I see nothing!"
Anyway, hooray for a U.S. Roman Catholic bishop actually taking a controversial stand. It's been a long time since I've noticed that kind of action. The Diocese of Providence website has more info.
Also, I've discovered: Letters and Papers from Postville, a blog for all who have concerns about the unfolding tragedy in Postville, Iowa, where a raid in May at Agriprocessors resulted in the arrests of over 380 people on immigration related-charges. It's on my Google Reader now.