It appears that the LDS Church is slowly unveiling its position on Illegal Immigration and it appears to somewhat break from the common GOP consensus. Which consensus, I should explain, is also firmer than mine. It seems that most GOPers (especially the average voter) is pretty hardcore in their view of illegal immigration; generally they feel that ALL illegal immigrants should be deported, often without consideration of extenuating circumstances.
Those of you who have been reading my blog for a long time now, may remember that I broke with this common view in a piece I wrote last year. Basically, I think deporting 12 million people is utterly ridiculous, it is an economic and logistical nightmare. Additionally, we need to consider the impact such a move (deportation) would have on families, especially children born in the U.S. who are now citizens.
Yesterday, LDS Church historian and seventy, Marlin K. Jensen, urged that Utah’s legislature (practically all Mormon) “slow down, step back and carefully study and assess the implications and human costs involved” when confronting the issue of illegal immigration. He added that such decisions have “significant consequences, (and) I believe a more thoughtful . . . not to mention humane, approach is warranted.”
I couldn’t agree more. We need to consider the human implication.
It is important to point out that Elder Jensen is not advocating one way or another any specific legislation or even point of view regarding illegal immigration. He is simply urging reflection and serious, realistic contemplation on the impact of various possibilities. This is a wise course of action.
I fear that people are so embroiled with emotion regarding this issue, that is clouds sound judgement and realistic/pragmatic thought. Many right wingers, especially, are verging on pure racism and starting to even allow their hatred for illegal immigration with criticism of all immigration. This is a dangerous trend.
The best antidote for such irrational movement is simply to take a deep breath, pull back from the problem, and move cautiously; all the while utilizing deliberate and realistic thought and analysis.
For the Church it will be interesting to see what kind of response is received. There are going to be huge swaths of LDS members, especially throughout AZ, CA, and the rest of the Southwest that are going to be annoyed at best by this, others will likely be outraged. But I urge all of you who may be upset by this move to remember the role of religion. Religions in general (should) focus on individuals, not governments. Thus, the LDS Church is concerned about the impact such legislation will have on individuals, and this includes illegal immigrants, legal immigrants, even all U.S. citizens. Rational and pragmatic thought, even stepping away from the issue to get an overall view, is nearly always the wisest course. When we move to fast and are swayed by the emotional upswell of public opinion we more often than not make poor decisions that have more dire effects in the long run.
UPDATE: Further down in the SL Trib article I read the following bit and think it is essential to add to this piece.: “Jensen noted that immigration was not strictly a political issue but a moral and ethical one. And as such, he said, he was not simply speaking for himself or even for the Quorum, a group of Mormon leaders who act as church emissaries. ‘I was assigned to come here by the First Presidency of the Church.’ “