Catholic Bishop Anthony Taylor said at a press conference today that he hopes to head off bad bills in the legislature that would harm “undocumented immigrants” with the pastoral letter the blog mentioned yesterday.

“My hope is that the Arkansas legislature will do what Jesus would do,” Taylor said, and “welcome the stranger.” He said he’d be glad to meet with legislators, especially Rep. Jon Woods, R-Springdale, who is said to be working on legislation to stem the tide of Hispanic immigration into Arkansas — and who is a Catholic.

Taylor, who became head of the Arkansas dioceses in April, came to Arkansas from Oklahoma, which passed one of the country’s toughest immigration law last year. The law punishes employers of illegal immigrants with suspended business licenses, makes it a felony to give an illegal immigrant transportation or shelter and denies them other public benefits. Even feeding an illegal immigrant is considered aiding and abetting.

“People have a God-given right to immigrate” when circumstances demand it, Taylor said, and he’ll spread that word with the letter and his taped homily that played at Catholic churches on Sunday.

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(More on the jump.)