Immigration Law Aims to Protect Church Groups

By: Bethany Anderson Email
By: Bethany Anderson Email

(Dothan, AL)--Claudio Samper, the Hispanic director at St. Columba Catholic Church disagrees with the new language in House Bill 658.

He said that while the law safeguards church activities when it comes to illegals, it punishes good Samaritans who try to do the same thing.

"I think the law is wrong, and it punishes good people," Samper said. "I think this law would be terrible and it would be very devastating for Alabama," he said.

Dothan immigration activist Rich Lopez, says the tougher penalties show no regard for immigrant Children and Families.

"They've superseded that christian factor that says we want to help," Lopez said.

If the bill passes, the simple act of taking an illegal immigrant to church could lead to penalties and even jail time.

Samper says several churches in the area have a system to transport church-goers, illegals or not, and that this bill forces the church to pull back on community service.

However, Samper says no matter what changes are made to the bill, they will continue to help those in need .

"I'll think we will continue everything as normal, and I hope I don't end up in jail," Samper said.

Other changes to the bill include clarifying that police officers cannot question people about their citizenship traffic stops, and clarifying that people don't need to show proof of citizenship for everyday transactions. The bill now moves to the Alabama senate.

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