Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Baptists Oppose the SAFE Act

From ABP News:

The Alliance of Baptists joined other faith organizations and leaders in an Aug. 21 letter opposing a law pending in Congress to crack down on crimes committed by aliens living in the United States illegally.

Introduced in the House of Representatives June 6 by Border Security Subcommittee Chairman Trey Gowdy (R-S.C.), the Strengthen and Fortify Enforcement Act aims to increase cooperation between local police and the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement and close loopholes in federal law that proponents believe allow criminal aliens to enter and stay.

“Government’s first duty is public safety, but under this Administration, we have seen our immigration laws go unenforced, gaps in our national security persist, and criminal aliens released onto our streets,” Gowdy said. “This current state of affairs cannot continue, and Congress must establish accountability measures so the immigration laws we pass will in fact be enforced.”

Supporters of H.R. 2278 — also known as the SAFE Act — say it would make it easier for immigration officials to do their job and harder for foreign nationals who pose a national security risk to enter and remain in the United States. Opponents say it would turn millions of undocumented immigrants into criminals overnight and state and local law enforcement officers around the county into immigration agents.

Faith leaders signing the Aug. 21 open letter to House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) objected specifically to provisions in the SAFE Act that would criminalize religious leaders and houses of worship that provide humanitarian assistance to all persons regardless of immigration status. They said those provisions “run directly counter to our beliefs in generosity, hospitality and welcome.”

Section 314 of the SAFE Act would make it a crime to transport undocumented immigrants and “encourage or induce a person to reside in the Unites States” if that person lacks immigration status. The penalties for engaging in such activities range from three to 20 years in prison. Read more...

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