The Utah-based church has called for compassion when dealing with undocumented immigrants, urging politicians not to divide families. It has lauded a new Utah guest-worker bill, which allows undocumented immigrants to pay fines and stay in the state.
However, leading Mormon conservatives are pushing to repeal the measure, likening it to amnesty.
U.S. Sen. Mike Lee, R-Utah, who campaigned on eliminating the constitutional amendment that gives any baby born in America automatic citizenship, has expressed reservations about the state immigration bill. Yet Lee also said he applauds his church hierarchy’s emphasis on compassion and humanitarian concerns.
“I don’t think they were saying … that anyone who voted against [the bill] has betrayed their religion.”
Progressive Mormons faced a similar situation when they opposed California’s Proposition 8, a 2008 ballot measure that eliminated same-sex marriage, even as the church heavily supported it.
In the heat of that campaign, LDS general authority L. Whitney Clayton said Latter-day Saints are free to disagree with their church on that issue without any sanction. “We love them,” Clayton said, “and bear them no ill will.”
— Peggy Fletcher Stack
c. 2011, Salt Lake Tribune