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Bishop Nicholas DiMarzio on immigration: The problem is not at the border

It has an immigration office that is 40 years old. It assists immigrants with legal matters, work issues, and ministry.

While Bishop DiMarzio says Brooklyn is used to its immigrant population, he says some other areas have problems of xenophobia. And that this fear and not understanding immigration issues can push laws in the wrong direction.

Bishop Nicholas DiMarzio

Diocese of Brooklyn (US)

“If public opinion is wrong and the legislatures don’t want to stand up to it then we have all of the laws like Arizona’s laws and other things that have happened and probably will happen until we get a better understanding of the issue itself.”

In April of this year, Arizona passed the nation?s toughest law on illegal immigration, making the failure to carry immigration documents a crime and giving police the power to detain anyone suspected of being in the United States illegally.

Bishop DiMarzio says he was disappointed when the Arizona law passed and that at “face value” it seems discriminatory.

Bishop Nicholas DiMarzio

Diocese of Brooklyn (US)

“Unfortunately it probably won’t solve the problem because the problem is not at the border, it’s in the workplace. And until we secure the workplace, you can’t secure the border. Because people will continue to come, they need to come, we need the workers.”

In the United States, there are 12 million undocumented workers. Bishop DiMarzio says they need to have some sort of status, such as a national identity card.

Bishop DiMarzio says in an ideal world he would like everyone to understand immigration issues.

Bishop Nicholas DiMarzio

Diocese of Brooklyn

"Have compassion for people who come struggling trying to make a new life for themselves and actually realize that they’re a benefit for society. That’s the overall issue of immigration.”

Bishop DiMarzio says he believes the Arizona law might be a catalyst to some better action in the future, something he will be paying close attention to.

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