Reflecting “our aspirations as a just and caring society” (The Church on Immigration)

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saint has release the following statement:

As a worldwide church dealing with many complex issues across the globe, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints promotes broad, foundational principles that have worldwide application. The Church regards the declaration of the Utah Compact as a responsible approach to the urgent challenge of immigration reform. It is consistent with important principles for which we stand:

* We follow Jesus Christ by loving our neighbors. The Savior taught that the meaning of “neighbor” includes all of God’s children, in all places, at all times.

* We recognize an ever-present need to strengthen families. Families are meant to be together. Forced separation of working parents from their children weakens families and damages society.

* We acknowledge that every nation has the right to enforce its laws and secure its borders. All persons subject to a nation’s laws are accountable for their acts in relation to them.

Public officials should create and administer laws that reflect the best of our aspirations as a just and caring society. Such laws will properly balance love for neighbors, family cohesion, and the observance of just and enforceable laws.

The Church’s statement was made in support of a declaration released by the Utah Compact, a group of local community and civic leaders. Their Declaration reads as follows:

A declaration of five principles to guide Utah’s immigration discussion

FEDERAL SOLUTIONS — Immigration is a federal policy issue between the U.S. government and other countries — not Utah and other countries. We urge Utah’s congressional delegation, and others, to lead efforts to strengthen federal laws and protect our national borders. We urge state leaders to adopt reasonable policies addressing immigrants in Utah.

LAW ENFORCEMENT — We respect the rule of law and support law enforcement’s professional judgment and discretion. Local law enforcement resources should focus on criminal activities, not civil violations of federal code.

FAMILIES — Strong families are the foundation of successful communities. We oppose policies that unnecessarily separate families. We champion policies that support families and improve the health, education and well-being of all Utah children.

ECONOMY — Utah is best served by a free-market philosophy that maximizes individual freedom and opportunity. We acknowledge the economic role immigrants play as workers and taxpayers. Utah’s immigration policies must reaffirm our global reputation as a welcoming and business-friendly state.

A FREE SOCIETY — Immigrants are integrated into communities across Utah. We must adopt a humane approach to this reality, reflecting our unique culture, history and spirit of inclusion. The way we treat immigrants will say more about us as a free society and less about our immigrant neighbors. Utah should always be a place that welcomes people of goodwill.

Both of these statements are centrist statements. However, they both reject anti-illegal immigrant sentiment. I love how their main focus is on the families that are impacted and the humanity of all. Too often our rhetoric strips these immigrant of there humanity.

I join the Church in their call for us to live up to the ideals of a just and caring society.

38 Replies to “Reflecting “our aspirations as a just and caring society” (The Church on Immigration)”

  1. I came across some interesting scriptures a few days ago in Alma that made me think of immigration. The Anti Nephi Lehites were a repentant wicked people who were being persecuted, killed, etc. by the Amalekites and Amulonites.

    Ammon, prays about letting them immigrate into the land of the Nephites. The king tells Ammon they would even be slaves for the Nephites (and pick their lettuce and mow their yards) if they can live among them.

    The people of Nephi have a vote on it and give them some land to live in.

    These immigrants become the parents of most famous people in all the book of Mormon, and raise up the stripling warriors.

    Start at chapter 27 and work your way backwards.

    To be a bit balanced, I’ll add that these people were righteous, which many immigrants are. The situation in the US/Mexico is a bit different, but I view these as an “ideal” for bringing those who want to be contributing, positive members of society into our fold. I’d also had that structurally, I think our government that we have in place actually promotes disunity and other problems, regardless of the Ds and Rs in power.

  2. “I’d also had that structurally, I think our government that we have in place actually promotes disunity and other problems, regardless of the Ds and Rs in power.”

    should be

    I’d also add that structurally, I think our government that we have in place actually promotes disunity and other problems, regardless of the Ds and Rs in power. So just letting them come on in is no more right in my mind than the rhetoric to ship them all back.

  3. Of course, no one will address an uncomfortable reality: Utah was the sovereign territory of Mexico when the Mormons came there from the US making them illegal aliens.

    BTW, ‘families’ are meant to be together, unless they include one or more homosexual members, then no effort is spared by the Mormon Church to demonize, disenfranchise and make them unequal under the law.

  4. Of course, no one will address an uncomfortable reality: Utah was the sovereign territory of Mexico when the Mormons came there from the US making them illegal aliens.

    Utah was part of the Mexican province of Alta California until June 14, 1846, when the short lived California Republic declared its independence. Alta California came under United States control ten days later, more than a full year before Mormon pioneers entered the Salt Lake Valley.

    But even allowing for the fictional sovereignty of Mexico over Alta California more than a year after Mexico lost control of it to the United States, Mexico does not appear to have any immigration laws at the time. The United States didn’t. Seventy years later Mexico (still) allowed anyone to enter the country without a passport, by law.

    In short, in 1847 there was no such thing as an illegal alien in this part of the world.

  5. If you are interested in facts, the territories including California and Utah were not officially ceded to the US until 1848. The Mexican-American war started in 1846 and ended with the treaty in 1848. Until then, Utah was claimed by Mexico.

  6. Among the provisions of the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo, on Feb 2, 1848, the US paid Mexico 15 million dollars for the ceded territory. Kind of hard to imagine paying for something that you already owned. But of course, feel free to make up your own facts.

  7. We must adopt a humane approach to this reality, reflecting our unique culture, history and spirit of inclusion.

    Whaaa? Don’t get me wrong, I’ve lived in Utah. I like Utah. However, a “spirit of inclusion” would not be on my list of the state’s defining attributes.

  8. Until then, Utah was claimed by Mexico.

    Claimed is the operative word here. The British claimed the everything from Maine to Florida until 1783 too. But as far as the United States is concerned, it ceased to be British territory on July 4, 1776.

    Sovereignty is the quality of “having supreme, independent authority over a geographic area, such as a territory”. If you can’t maintain that you aren’t sovereign, no matter how much you “claim”. In actual fact, neither Spain nor Mexico ever exercised any real sovereignty over what is now Utah.

  9. Whether it was 1846 or 1848 is completely irrelevant to the point which Mark raised. There were not immigration laws as we know them in either 1846 or 1848. So, for those who claim that there ancestors came legally…this is the case because there were no such laws. Go figure.

  10. #j10
    So by that definition, I guess we own Iraq, as we invaded it, deposed its government and executed its leadership. Is it the 51st state?

  11. I sure wish I had heard this welcome before enrolling at BYU: ‘We do not intend to admit to our campus any homosexuals. If any of you have this tendency, and have not completely abandoned it, may I suggest that you leave the University immediately after this assembly…we do not want others to be contaminated by your presence.’ Ernest L. Wilkinson Lovely. Of course the ‘Y’ has inched towards something a bit more palatable to its public relations concerns–kicking and screaming, I might add. Add to President Wilkinson’s charming statement the Mormon Church’s attitude towards black people at the same time–I would hardly call Utah inclusive or anything remotely resembling it. Has the Mormon Church improved? Of course, but too little to late for me. I wish I could have saved myself the aversion therapy, loneliness and near suicide I endured during my time in Utah.

  12. BTW for those of you interested in points of law, being in the United States without proper permission is not an illegal act in the sense of criminal activity, it is only a deportable offense. The law contains no sanctions except deportation.

  13. Don,

    I share with you a deep dislike of Ernest Wilkinson. While his imprint is still visible…he has been dead for 25 years.

    I am also sorry for your pain.

    Utah is not BYU. In some ways it can be worse, in other ways it is better. That is why the best part of Utah is the University of Utah.

  14. So happy to find a point of agreement. Had I the chance to do it over, I would have been a Ute. Actually, my first choice would have been UC, but my parents insisted on BYU.

  15. Chris H
    I has been 30 years since I left BYU, but what happened there to me was horrible, and while time has healed, I will never forget, nor should I. Gay youth are still killing themselves in Utah–I know how it feels to get that low. I’m not ready to make nice.

  16. I think we agree on a lot. Our differences have been more style than issues.

    I went to Ricks and enjoyed it. My three years teaching at BYU-I and my year teaching at BYU were traumatic…though nothing like what you went though.

  17. Really sick of every conversation turning into something about gays. Talk about aversion therapy. I become less sympathetic by the day.

    I love that the church is supporting this statement.

  18. Owen, I think the idea is that we should treat all with compassion. Being less sympathetic because you dislike certain blog comments is like those who are unsympathetic to immigrant because of the actions of a few. Either way, I like how the thread is developing.

  19. I’d like to return to the LDS migration in 1847 into what then was technically Mexico. While it is true that there were no immigration laws in effect and it is also true that Mexico didn’t have effective control over its borders at the time, it is nonetheless also true that Brigham Young was aware that he was crossing a border. We didn’t bother to ask if we could settle in the Great Basin, and it is interesting to consider what the response might have been if we had bothered to request permission.

  20. Given that the Battle of the Alamo in 1836 was fought primarily over the issue of people from the U.S. settling in places claimed by Mexico, it is a little hard to believe that the Mexicans would have changed their minds 11 years later. Even though they were unable to enforce their will, it is safe to assume that we were there against their will.

  21. Owen
    Since the Church’s statement includes language that speaks of loving your neighbor and including ‘all of God’s children in all places and all times’, how gay people are treated is certainly a germane issue in reference to that statement. Sorry that you feel that the words ‘all of God’s children’ should have been ‘all of God’s children except gay people’.

    The declaration’s language about Utah’s ‘spirit of inclusion’ is frankly a bit much–even to people who like Utah. The statement further says that Utah ‘should be a welcoming place’ seems itself to be aspirational–certainly not reality.

  22. Owen
    Sorry that you are sick of hearing about aversion therapy. I didn’t find it welcoming or helpful. It happened at BYU which is a major institution in Utah. Sorry that someone else’s nightmare is unpleasant for you to hear about.

  23. thanks for the post chris h.

    i think this adds an interesting dynamic to ‘conservative’ utah. seems to me that the church has been moving in this direction for some time. such as not necessarily asking recommend holders or baptismal candidates whether they are are legal or not.

  24. 21 BTW thanks Chris for your generous comment. I am frequently acerbic and confrontational. I admit that readily.
    BYU was very traumatic for me, but Provo is simply just weird. Perhaps we can agree on that too?

  25. ExMoHoMoHoDon ~ Provo is weird. I am from Salt Lake, and I don’t mind saying that with the exception of a few restaurants, I did not like Provo at all.

    As far as the aversion therapy goes, I think Owen’s point was that gayjacking every single thread about culture, politics, and the church is comparable to aversion therapy in that it yields an aversion to gay-related issues. I wish I could say I don’t see Owen’s point; no matter how important an issue, an overbearing and self-righteous advocacy does not induce sympathy. Nevertheless, the comparison to actual aversion therapy is inexcusable. Gay-rights advocates being pushy on the internet is not at all comparable to the sickening torture received by some homosexuals at BYU and elsewhere in an effort to crush an important part of their very identity as children of God. Forum trolling of any kind is not the same as institutionalized physical, psychological, and emotional abuse which in many cases was in direct conflict with the doctrine and general policy of the church. This kind of comparison shows poor taste indeed and I hope Owen exercises more sensitivity in future participation.

  26. Given that the Battle of the Alamo in 1836 was fought primarily over the issue of people from the U.S. settling in places claimed by Mexico

    I don’t believe that was the case. The Texas rebellion (and rebellions in other Mexican states) was prompted by Santa Anna abolishing the Mexican Constitution of 1824, and the restoration of that constitution was the initial objective.

    What became the Texas Revolution was not a non-hispanic vs. hispanic dispute. It was a Texian/Tejano vs. Mexico dispute. Nobody had a problem with the settlers from any country in the province of Coahuila y Texas until Santa Anna came to power. In 1831 The Mexican government gave the local Texians a cannon to defend themselves against the Indians. The initial battle a few years later was prompted when Santa Anna sent a hundred soldiers to ask for it back.

    It is worth noting that Coahuila declared independence as well, for the same reason, as part of the short lived Republic of the Rio Grande.

    Prior to Santa Anna, both the Spanish and Mexican governments were actively encouraging settlers to come to Mexico. See here.

  27. Perhaps you might be surprised to learn that I do not expect sympathy. While I may be acerbic, it is a bit over the top to accuse me of ‘gayjacking every single thread about culture, politics and the church’ with an ‘overbearing and and self righteous advocacy’. Please. I have commented a few times here which hardly amounts to ‘gayjacking every single thread.’ Perhaps you would prefer an advocacy marked by deference and capitulation? Hardly seems to me like advocacy at all.
    What is clear to me is that it makes little difference how or where a comment is made in regard to issues which are directly or only somewhat relevant to gay people (like the proposition put forth in the compact being discussed that Utah is inclusive) –it will always be met sooner or later with the kind of hostility expressed by Owen. I think ultimately what will make Mormons happy is for gay people to just go away. At least for now, I am happy to oblige. I have a job, children, and school to deal with. However rest assured that over the long run, gay people are not going away.

  28. BTW Neither is the issue of illegal immigration going away. I hope the Mormon Church is successful in staking out positions which reflect Christian principles unlike its treatment of gay people. You will need to overcome the Tea Party/Glenn Beck nutcase wing of your church membership to do so, and good luck with that, because you will need it.

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