An estimated 500,000 people marched in Los Angeles yesterday to protest the Border Protection, Antiterrorism and Immigration Control bill that is scheduled to be taken up by the Senate this week. According to the Los Angeles Times, the protest may have been the largest in the city's history.
The immigration bill, which would subject illegal immigrants to criminal penalties as well as deportation, calls for 700 miles of fence to be constructed along the U.S.-Mexico border. It also makes it a crime to assist illegal immigrants.
Cardinal Roger Mahony, archbishop of Los Angeles, has said he would instruct priests within his diocese to disobey the law if it enters into force. On Wednesday, Mahony published an op-ed in the International Herald Tribune to explain his views. As Mahony notes, "Part of the mission of the Roman Catholic Church is to help people in need. It is our Gospel mandate, in which Christ instructs us to clothe the naked, feed the poor and welcome the stranger."
Meanwhile, the City of Los Angeles has passed a resolution opposing the federal legislation and the city council in Maywood, California has declared the community a sanctuary for illegal immigrants.