Preachers Plan Suit
Suit aims to stop illegal-immigrant law
Priests are pledging to go to jail if that's what it takes to protect illegal immigrants from the immigration crackdown.
Last Thursday House Bill 1804 went into effect, requiring legal documentation for any immigrant to live or work in the state.
About half of the Eastern Oklahoma Catholic Diocese is Hispanic, that's about 60,000 Catholic parishioners.
Bishop James Slattery says the Catholic Church will help protect all of them from the new law.
At an early morning weekday mass, midtown's Saint Francis Xavier Church welcomes anyone.
"You don't need legal documentation to pray. You are going to bring comfort and hope to the people." Pastor David Medina says they don't want their parishioners to fear the law. "We have been encouraging them to trust in the police department, they are here to protect us, to help us."
But if something does happen, Medina and the church will protect families. "In case some members of the police department do not help them or abuse them, they need to come here to work with them to the core to fight the situation."
"Anyone who comes in and is in need, we take care of them. That's all. We don't ask them if they are a citizen or not." Bishop James Slattery of Eastern Oklahoma's Catholic Diocese says if law enforcement tries to question their parishioners, he and other priests will stand in the way.
"If I have to go to jail for exercising my priesthood or my pastoral leadership then I will go to jail, I won't be the first. History books are filled with bishops or priests who have gone to jail for the gospel."
State Laws Dent Illegal Alien Numbers