The LDS Church and Illegal Immigration

I have to change a major opinion. 

A couple of weeks ago, an announcement appeared on the Newsroom of the Church web site, saying that the Church “regards the declaration of the Utah Compact as a responsible approach to the urgent challenge of immigration reform.”  The declaration refered to affirms, among other things, that families should be kept together and that social services should exist for the benefit of “all” children. 

Like many other conservatives, I have said that the most logical, legal solution to the crime, friction, and costs caused by illegal immigration would be the deportation of all illegal aliens.  That position, in light of the above statements, no longer seems tenable to me.  The call for keeping families together and sponsoring universal social services can only be reasonably interpreted to mean some kind of amnesty, like the kind promoted by President Bush, and things like the DREAM Act, promoted by President Obama and members of Congress. 

Surely there’s still room for some disagreement on the subject, but we must agree that the general issue of whether or not illegal aliens should be deported en masse is now settled, as far as Latter-day Saints are concerned.  Why aren’t the specifics of a policy more clearly articulated by the Church?  Probably because there isn’t one certain ballot item being voted on, or legislation being proposed, as there has been with issues in the past.  Or, because the existing statements are clear enough for those who aren’t looking to twist them to agree with what they already thought.

When I read those news items and related pieces in the media, I made the mistake of reading comments left by other readers.  Many rationalized the statements as saying that, for example, if the Church wants to keep families together, then every illegal should be deported.  That may or may not actually achieve that goal, but it’s certainly outside the spirit of the Church’s statements. 

Such an interpretation can only be meant to justify one’s preconceived convictions, and would make the Church’s statement meaningless: if it isn’t meant to oppose deportation, then what could it possibly say that’s substantial?  It surely isn’t just a diplomatic truffle to appease everybody; in its rare forays into the political realm, the Church sure doesn’t do that. 

I am glad, though, that the Utah Compact, as well as the Church’s statement supporting it, talks about border enforcement, assimilation, and the rule of law.  Perhaps my biggest irk in this discussion is the refusal of many of those on the left to believe that opposition to illegal immigration is based on anything other than racism, and that the existence of problems like increased crime that we try to point out is routinely denied.  I hope that those who have favored things like amnesty will start treating their conservative friends with a little more dignity. 

Speaking of those comments left by online readers again, though, it’s scary how many come from conservatives calling out the Church for this position.  I was discouraged by how much discord was obviously caused among Mormons who lean to the left because of the Church’s position on gay marriage.  I worry now that in the coming years there will be conservatives who will allow their faith and activity to suffer over illegal immigration.  I’ll affirm again that, regardless of my political principles, I’ll adhere to the teachings of my church first.

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3 comments on “The LDS Church and Illegal Immigration

  1. Opinion vs. Testimony: Following “The Brethren” is the only safetey for our opinions that we can have. Where testimony is needed, the Spirit is available to those who love the Lord and keep His commandments, or seek to – if they study things out properly in their own minds.

    Thanks for meeting enough requirements of the Spirit for enough testimony for following “The Brethren” in your opinions. I doubt the desires to completely love and obey God in those for whom you express concern. How can we pursuade them to want to strictly obey so they can also receive a sufficient portion of the Holy Spirit?

  2. The Church as it is headed by Christ, will always adhere to Christian principle. Thats not to say that all members and Mormon culture are necessarily always in accordance with Godly Christian principles.
    The law of the land is not what corporate governance determine, it is however what morally upright self governed people, living according to covenant determine. This because they hold authority over all other forms of governance.
    So , myself I am NOT leaving the Church as Gods law does not change, parts of the Church however may leave me…

  3. Most of us are not racists.We love God and respect the role immigration has always played in the development of our wonderful country.
    Although I am a Christian, I do not approve of the LDS,Catholic or any other church defending the breaking of any existing laws of my country. Laws that were developed to protect my country and the American people.The fact that the churches are doing this to grow their membership ,is no different than employers hiring illegals to work for them. It is wrong legally and morally.
    Most of us who oppose illegal immigration want to keep our country safe and financially solid.We want to know who is coming into our country and we want them to obey our laws and care about this country as much as we do.
    We want immigrants to succeed and receive the same wage that we do. We want them to pay taxes and have access to healthcare and education,paying the same as we do.The only thing we ask in return is that you do it legally,and with the understanding that people from all over the world are waiting in line to come here,our Hispanic neighbors to the south do not have the right to bully everybody in the world to be first in line.

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