Cardinal Mahony speaks on illegal immigration

LOS ANGELES Mahony sees anti-immigrant hysteria and its impact on those he calls brothers and sisters.

"Scapegoated and put into categories and not seen as real people," said Mahony.

The conversation must change, he says. And it can start with his new Web site, Faces of Immigrants ( You can listen to the stories of individuals, know their terror and find out why they came to the U.S.

Mahony has an answer for those who say a new immigration law in Arizona is to combat violent drug cartels.

"Do you think drug dealers and cartels are shipping their goods with families, with strollers and babies going down to the supermarket?" said Mahony. "That's crazy."

He does not pull punches. On enabling police to demand papers of suspected illegals, he likens it to Nazi and Communist Russia techniques.

"How does an officer know who to stop?" asked Mahony. "What are the criteria? Is it a shade of color? Is it language? Is it the loud music or lack thereof coming from a car? What are the criteria?"

About concerns of law-abiding legal residents paying taxes that might support illegal immigrants, Mahony says that's a myth.

"They pay taxes," said Mahony. "So many of them pay taxes and never have access to any kind of benefit and never will."

Mahony points to the need for prayer and God's own commandment: "That aliens, non-residents, must be welcomed and embraced in their community," said Mahony. "It is crystal clear that was God's mandate."

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