A Newsweek article regarding Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton's (D-NY) criticism of a recent immigration bill suggested that Clinton was seizing on the opportunity to inject religion into the debate. In fact, numerous religious leaders have leveled similar criticism at sponsors of legislation that would critics say would punish "good Samaritans."
In an article in the April 3 edition of Newsweek, White House correspondent Holly Bailey reported that Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-NY) was "elbowing for attention" and "whacked the GOP with the Bible" when she "impl[ied that] anti-immigration proposals were not only hardhearted, but un-Christian." Bailey's wording suggested that Clinton was seizing on the opportunity to inject religion into the debate. In fact, numerous religious leaders have leveled similar criticism at sponsors of legislation that would critics say would punish "good Samaritans."
Clinton, speaking about the Border Protection, Antiterrorism, and Illegal Immigration Control Act (H.R. 4437) at a March 22 press conference, said: "It is certainly not in keeping with my understanding of the Scripture, because this bill would literally criminalize the Good Samaritan and probably even Jesus himself." She was referring to a section of the bill, which passed the House of Representatives in 2005, that threatens up to five years of imprisonment to anyone who:
assists, encourages, directs, or induces a person to reside in or remain in the United States, or to attempt to reside in or remain in the United States, knowing or in reckless disregard of the fact that such person is an alien who lacks lawful authority to reside in or remain in the United States.
From the April 3 edition of Newsweek:
Instead, the immigration debate has split the GOP, with many Republicans in the House and Senate, worried about alienating voters, openly opposing the president. In December, the House tossed aside the worker program and passed a bill that features tougher security at the Mexican border -- including Tancredo's cherished fence -- and crackdowns on illegals who are already here. "You can't ignore him," says a GOP leadership aide who wouldn't be named because he wanted to keep his job. "The administration doesn't want to hear this, but a lot of Americans think he's right."
In the Senate, Republicans, led by John McCain [R-AZ] and Arlen Specter [R-PA], have been working to come up with a compromise that would include border security, a guest-worker program and a way for illegal immigrants to "earn" citizenship. But Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist [R-TN], a presidential contender with one eye on the anti-immigration vote -- and the other one on outflanking McCain -- has threatened to put forward his own get-tough plan this week if the senators fail to come through.
It's not just Republicans elbowing for attention. Last week Sen. Hillary Clinton whacked the GOP with the Bible, implying anti-immigration proposals were not only hardhearted, but un-Christian. The bill, she said, "would literally criminalize the Good Samaritan and probably even Jesus himself."
As Media Matters for America noted, Clinton's argument is one also voiced by various religious organizations and leaders. In a March 1 statement issued on behalf of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, which "strongly opposes H.R. 4437," Washington, D.C., archbishop Cardinal Theodore E. McCarrick warned that the bill "would extend to U.S. citizens ... including those, such as our own parishioners, who offer, in an act of mercy, basic sustenance to an undocumented migrant." In a March 22 New York Times op-ed, Cardinal Roger Mahony, Catholic archbishop of Los Angeles, wrote: "As written, the proposed law is so broad that it would criminalize even minor acts of mercy like offering a meal or administering first aid."