The Church & Illegal Immigration

The LDS church recently published a statement regarding illegal immigration which outlined some general principles for approaching the issue. The statement reminded me of a forum that was held last summer at Willowcreek Community Church, hosted by Bill Hybels.

You can see that video here:

I think both the LDS church and Hybels took nuanced positions which more than likely disturbed some of their membership but sought to understand the issue from a position that weighed both mercy and justice.

[hat tip to Seth R. for the LDS church article]


14 thoughts on “The Church & Illegal Immigration

  1. Supposedly there’s a fair number of Mormons who are having an apoplexy that the Church didn’t take a hardline stand on it, but I don’t get why they were surprised. The Church is socially and theologically conservative, but that doesn;t mean the Church is the GOP or the Tea Party. It’s the same with conservative judges–people somehow imagine that a conservative or liberal judge is going to just rubber stamp the correct party platform, but it doesn’t happen. Judges and churches are constrained and informed by different things than political parties or grassroots political movements. At the end of the day, they are simple weighing different concerns in a different context.

  2. Still trying to figure out why any Mormon would go into apoplexy over this. I thought all FP pronouncements are to be filed under the category, “Helpful suggestions” and/or “Just their opinion.”

  3. I’m a bit surprised at the cited cost in that video of 200 billion dollars to physically deport all the illegal immigrants from the US, and the 3.6 trillion dollar cost to the US economy from the lost revenue and economic activity.

  4. Seth,

    Those numbers are wild. That amounts to 16,666/deportee, which seems very high. The 3.6 trillion dollar cost is almost certainly wrong as US GDP is around 15 trillion, which means illegal immigrants account for 24% of all economic activity in the U.S., even though they represent 4% of the population. I guess most illegal aliens are doctors, accountants, entrepreneurs, etc.

  5. The more I actually think about it though, the more it does seem unreasonably high….

  6. The Church statement (which I welcome) wasn’t all that surprising; it’s consistent with what Church leaders have said in various forums for at least the past two years.

    What I found more interesting is the supplemental statement the church issued, urging church members not to be judgmental toward illegal aliens in their congregations. I suspect the statement came about because of members being upset about illegal aliens receiving callings or even temple recommends. We can be a judgmental bunch.

  7. Pingback: Opinion : Vote for me or vote for my faith? |

  8. With all do respect, Eric.

    Statement A:
    The Church’s statement did not say: “urging church members not to be judgmental toward illegal aliens in their congregations.”

    Statement B:
    The statement says: “Meanwhile, Church members should avoid making judgments about fellow members in their congregations.”

    Do you see how Statement A is a subset of Statement B?
    Do you see how Statement A is incorrectly narrow in it’s statement of Statement B.
    It follows from Statement B that Statement A is true, however, it is dishonest and incorrect to assert that Statement A is what the church said in their statement.

    Just keepin ya honest.

  9. Here’s the entire statement:

    The First Presidency has for many years taught that undocumented status should not by itself prevent an otherwise worthy Church member from entering the temple or being ordained to the priesthood.

    Bishops are in the best position to make appropriate judgments as to Church privileges. Meanwhile, Church members should avoid making judgments about fellow members in their congregations.

    Readers here can decide whether my interpretation was fair (although I do agree with not judging others as a general principle as well).

  10. I’m glad that you agree with the general principle of not judging others, Eric.

    I think a lot of the people involved are smart enough to know that if they ONLY wanted members not judging illegal immigrant members, they would have said so. Too many members seem to selectively judge the statement as protecting illegal immigrants. The statement, very clearly implies that no member should be judging another in this matter.

    Going any further than that is probably cherry picking evidence for something you want and disregarding the fact that not even conservative church members who believe contrary to the quorum of the twelve (presumably) on this are to be judged by their fellow church members.

    Each member should focus on their own flaws and not somebody else’s.

  11. Eric’s point was correct. PC’s point (um… welcome back?) was also correct. The church has, for most of my life, struggled with the problem of Mormons being jerks to each other and to their non-Mormon neighbours. I really don’t get it. FWIW, this general jerkitude seems to be concentrated in the areas where Mormons are more numerous. Growing up in an area where we were a distinct minority, it would have been even more ridiculous to cut ourselves off from 99% of our community.

    But that’s a whole nother topic, as folks in my neck of the woods say.

    Regarding the immigration statement, I am pleased the FP has finally put their signatures to statements that have been alluded to for years. My favourite part is this line: “The Church supports an approach where undocumented immigrants are allowed to square themselves with the law and continue to work without this necessarily leading to citizenship.” It seems to say, “Look, these people are doing work. Let’s make it legal and keep them here. No need to make them citizens, either. Just documented workers.”

  12. I liked this part of the LDS Church’s statement:

    “The Church supports an approach where undocumented immigrants are allowed to square themselves with the law and continue to work without this necessarily leading to citizenship.”

    I agree that those in our country illegally should be given documentation allowing them to continue working, but I don’t think they should ever have the opportunity of becoming citizens if they broke the law to get here.

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