ST. GEORGE – Noting an early history filled with converted immigrants who helped build the faith, the Mormon church issued a statement Friday calling on national leaders to support “Dreamer” immigrants.
“These individuals have demonstrated a capacity to serve and contribute positively in our society, and we believe they should be granted the opportunity to continue to do so,” The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints said.
The statement comes in the wake of President Donald Trump’s telling reporters he believes there should be a path to citizenship for the nearly 2 million immigrants who were brought into the U.S. illegally while still children. It is a turnaround from the president’s previous sentiments on the matter.
Once shielded under the Obama-era Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, the future of the “Dreamers” – whom advocates noted grew up in the U.S. and know no other life – became uncertain when the Trump administration rescinded the policy last year.
However, the LDS church statement pointed to the contributions of this group.
“They have built lives, pursued educational opportunities and been employed for years based on the policies that were in place,” the church stated.
And many Utah politicians agreed. Among those who broke with the administration on ending the program was Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah.
“I called the president last week to urge him not to rescind DACA,” Hatch said in early September, “because I believe it puts Dreamers, who were brought here as children through no fault of their own, in an extremely difficult position.”
Friday’s statement from the LDS church called immigration and legal status issues a “concern for many of our members,” noting that it has members spread across 188 nations.
“Most of our early Church members emigrated from foreign lands to live, work and worship, blessed by the freedoms and opportunities offered in this great nation.”
The church acknowledged each nation has the right to enforce their immigration laws and keep secure borders, yet called upon lawmakers to work out solutions that “create policies that provide hope and opportunities for those, sometimes referred to as ‘Dreamers,’ who grew up here from a young age and for whom this country is their home.”
The LDS church also called for policies that will help strengthen families and help keep them together, echoing back to statements made by the church on immigration in the past.
The LDS church’s statement can be read in full below:
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is established in 188 nations around the globe. Issues of immigration and legal status are of concern for many of our members. Most of our early Church members emigrated from foreign lands to live, work and worship, blessed by the freedoms and opportunities offered in this great nation.
Immigration is a complex and sometimes divisive issue. As we have stated before, we believe that our first priority is to love and care for one another as Jesus Christ taught. Each nation must determine and administer its policies related to immigration. The Church does not advocate any specific legislative or executive solution. Our hope is that, in whatever solution emerges, there is provision for strengthening families and keeping them together. We also acknowledge that every nation has the right to enforce its laws and secure its borders and that all persons subject to a nation’s laws are accountable for their acts in relation to them.
We welcome the sincere efforts of lawmakers and leaders to seek for solutions that honor these principles and extend compassion to those seeking a better life. Specifically, we call upon our national leaders to create policies that provide hope and opportunities for those, sometimes referred to as “Dreamers,” who grew up here from a young age and for whom this country is their home. They have built lives, pursued educational opportunities and been employed for years based on the policies that were in place. These individuals have demonstrated a capacity to serve and contribute positively in our society, and we believe they should be granted the opportunity to continue to do so.
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