Another view, closely aligned with Bishop Olmsted’s is here from Fr. Jay Scott Newman (another person for whom I have immense respect). Fr. Newman adds another layer to what Bishop Olmsted mentioned, which is that if we were in the position of the immigrant, we would do the same thing. It is not right for anyone to break the laws of a country, but it is also not right for a country to target immigrants whose sole aim is to better their situation in life by finding meaningful work in the United States. They have a natural right to provide for their families and we should at least be honest that we would seek the same opportunity if it were not given to us by birth.
Fr. Newman also makes the point that full amnesty and full deportation of all the illegal immigrants in the United States are not viable options. Rather, part of comprehensive immigration reform must include some graduated system of legal status. We need to encourage hard-working immigrants to come to this country and to live out the American dream. We also need to protect our borders from those who commit crimes or want to cause us harm. There is no easy solution to the problem, just as the Arizona solution is not an easy one. But until the federal government acts, there will not be a complete or satisfactory answer to the problem of illegal immigration. If the Arizona law gets the federal government to move more quickly, that may be its greatest worth.