Immigration ruling vindicates bishops


BIRMINGHAM, Ala. — Episcopal, Roman Catholic and United Methodist bishops who filed a federal lawsuit two years ago trying to stop enforcement of Alabama’s immigration law say they feel vindicated.

“Our concern was primarily the infringement on the obligation of the church to take care of people regardless of their status,” said retired Episcopal Bishop Henry N. Parsley, who still lives in Birmingham. “I feel like our concerns have been upheld by the court process.”

On Monday, the U.S. Supreme Court declined to hear Alabama’s appeal of a ruling by the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, which had blocked key sections of the law that the bishops had opposed. The bishops opposed a section of the law that outlawed “transporting unlawfully present aliens” or “harboring” them, along with a section that outlawed having a contract with illegal immigrants.

The bishops said that ministries to immigrants would be harmed by those provisions and that church employees and volunteers could have been subjected to prosecution.

The lawsuit by the coalition of bishops was dismissed by U.S. Judge Sharon Blackburn.