Revisiting the Church’s Stance on Immigration

February 26, 2008 | 168 comments
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Just over a month ago, Kaimi posed a question asking how exactly our Latter-day Saint beliefs should translate into specific ideas on the issue of immigration. His blog post was provoked by press accounts of meetings that Elder M. Russell Ballard and other Church officials had just had with members of the Utah legislature from both parties. These sorts of meetings are nothing unusual; they’ve actually become a matter of tradition. Before each general session, party leaders in both the House and Senate meet separately with Church officials to discuss any issues of importance. What set these particular meetings apart, however, was the increasingly hardline immigration measures the legislature was set to consider during the upcoming legislative session. According to House Minority Whip David Litvack, D-Salt Lake, Elder Ballard and the other Church officials “made a call for humanity” in the immigration debates and legislation, saying that illegal immigrants should not be “demonized.” “The basic message,” Litvack said “was… to step back, not be so reactive and let cooler heads prevail…. we must remember that we are talking about human beings.” The Church officials echoed similar sentiments to House Majority Leader Dave Clark, R-Santa Clara, urging Republican legislators to “approach this subject with compassion.”

Among the many immigration bills under consideration at the beginning of this legislative session were proposals that would deny undocumented students eligibility for in-state college tuition, repeal Utah’s “driver privilege” cards, require employers to verify employee residency status, empower state law enforcement officers to enforce immigration laws, and create a bipartisan immigration task force to study the issue and make recommendations on policies related to illegal immigration. What I’m interested in exploring today is what sort of immigration policies people think the Church would like to see implemented if it had its way. It should be noted that the Church “has taken no position regarding currently proposed immigration legislation,” but it clearly has signaled its discomfort with the direction the immigration debate has taken in recent years.

In the Tribune article above, Church spokesman Scott Trotter said “the blessings of the Church are available to anyone who qualifies for and accepts the Gospel of Jesus Christ” and went on to say “Federal law allows undocumented persons to provide volunteer church service, including missionary service, within the United States.” What Trotter failed to mention is that the Church is actually responsible for the law that insulates religious organizations from prosecution for, among other things, knowingly permitting undocumented immigrants to be ministers or calling them as missionaries. In 2005, the Church lobbied Senator Bob Bennett to sponsor this “narrow exception” to federal immigration law, and he added the provision to an agricultural spending bill that was later signed into law (prompting Rep. Tom Tancredo to lambaste it as the “Bennett Loophole“).

More recently, this month Elder Ballard, as a member of the Alliance for Unity, opposed the repeal of in-state tuition for undocumented college students in Utah. And, on February 13, just one week after a devastating immigration raid in Lindon, Utah, the First Presidency dispatched Elder Marlin K. Jensen to speak alongside Catholic Bishop John C. Wester at Westminster College’s Interfaith Dialogue on Immigration. In his remarks, Elder Jensen urged Utah’s legislature to “take a step back” and approach the issue of illegal immigration with a “spirit of compassion.” He emphasized that “immigration questions are questions dealing with God’s children… I believe a more thoughtful and factual, not to mention humane approach is warranted, and urge those responsible for [the] enactment of Utah’s immigration policy to measure twice before they cut.” Elder Jensen implored others to “meet an undocumented person” and “come to know their family,” and he noted that “if there is a church that owes [a] debt to the immigrant and the principal of immigration it is The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.” Elder Jensen also remarkably stated that “the church’s view of someone in undocumented status is akin, in a way, to a civil trespass. There is nothing inherent or wrong about that status.”

On February 14, in a Deseret News article reporting on Elder Jensen’s remarks, Church spokesman Mark Tuttle said that the Church “does not see itself as an enforcement agency.” When asked about members who had difficulty reconciling illegal status with the Latter-day Saint belief “in obeying, honoring and sustaining the law,” Tuttle said “I wonder how they’d feel about the second great commandment, to love thy neighbor as thyself. It’s not an answer to your question, but it’s another question. Sometimes it’s hard to do them all.”

All of this has led me to believe that, if the Church had its way, it would have lawmakers take a more “comprehensive” approach to any prospective immigration legislation, providing avenues for otherwise law-abiding undocumented immigrants to stay in the country legally at the same time as it secures the borders or cracks down on employment violations. Part of me also thinks it’s likely that Church would be pleased to see only the less reactive “taskforce” proposal cited above pass this legislative term. It’s hard for me to come to any other conclusion given that, within the Church, undocumented status is not an obstacle for baptism or temple attendance (or even leadership or missionary assignments), and seeing that the Church has chosen to inject itself into the immigration debate in several significant ways over the past six weeks. This interpretation, however, plays to my biases. I’m admittedly swayed by what I see as the human cost involved in a hardline approach. I’m really curious how others here read the tea leaves though. The Church hasn’t clearly defined what it means by the “spirit of compassion” or just what it considers a “humane approach” to be. (And, as Adam has pointed out, a “hardline approach to immigration can easily be done without demonizing immigrants”). The Church has, however, recently likened undocumented status to a “civil trespass” that is not “inherently” wrong, and a member of the Quorum of the Twelve has gone on record opposing the repeal of in-state tuition benefits for undocumented immigrants. In light of these developments, what sort of immigration policy do you think the Church would consider ideal?

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168 Responses to Revisiting the Church’s Stance on Immigration

  1. queuno on February 26, 2008 at 3:48 am

    I suspect that some leaders of the Church are not altogether opposed to a more or less “open borders” policy. Or at least the status quo.

  2. Mark D. on February 26, 2008 at 4:39 am

    There are numerous areas where LDS leaders can have their way simply by announcing a policy one way or another. Politics isn’t one of them. In politics, people actually expect a compelling argument.

    In this case, the only position that the perceived LDS policy is logically compatible with is with the repeal of all U.S. immigration laws. However, the LDS leadership has yet to even begin to make the case that immigration restrictions are inherently immoral. If that is what they believe and what they want all of the rest of us to believe, they should be publishing articles either announcing revelations or developing arguments to that effect. Right now it looks like they want to have it both ways – the wink, wink theory of church state relations.

  3. Marc on February 26, 2008 at 8:51 am

    You both may be right. My point above was simply that, in the face of the pending legislative action, I think the Church would seem to prefer a more comprehensive approach rather than one that focuses solely on enforcement.

  4. Ray on February 26, 2008 at 8:59 am

    Mark, I’m rushing right now, but your second paragraph is ludicrous. It might or might not be what they would like, but it is not the only logically compatible position. I doubt, for example, that the church leaders are unanimous on exact policy, and I also doubt that they would like to see convicted immigrant felons remain in the states. I doubt as a united body they would oppose securing the borders.

    I think this is one case where lots of people are injecting their own biases (on both sides) into the discussion. The Church’s statements say to act with compassion, remember the great commandments, think before punishing someone harshly for taking advantage of lax enforcement, treat even illegal immigrants with dignity and respect, and remember the Golden Rule. Until the Church actually opposes a specific law or piece of legislation, we simply can’t say with certainty what the only logically compatible position is.

    The Church is not an enforcement agency. I agree with that completely. I also agree completely with the call for compassion. In that light, I would close the borders immediately and deport all convicted felons immediately. I would grandfather existing cases for companies who have hired illegal immigrants, but require that they report those cases to be documented. I would impose fines on all companies who hire illegal immigrants in the future and/or continue to employ undocumented workers. I would grant temporary amnesty to those non-felons already in the country and give hem one year to apply for some kind of visa or citizenship to remain.

    Our government created this problem by not acting to stop it – by turning a blind eye. We should take responsibility for the result, not dump it all on those whom we allowed to come here. You can practice compassion in this issue and not support the repeal of all immigration laws – or even anything like unto it.

  5. Russell Arben Fox on February 26, 2008 at 9:01 am

    [I]f the Church had its way, it would have lawmakers take a more “comprehensive” approach to any prospective immigration legislation, providing avenues for otherwise law-abiding undocumented immigrants to stay in the country legally at the same time as it secures the borders or cracks down on employment violations.

    Marc, what is it in the various statements you cite that leads to believe that the church leadership affirms the second part of your conclusion, the “at the same time as it secures the borders or cracks down on employment violations” part? I mean, obviously that’s probably a good assumption; the church leadership is, to a significant extent, made up of former lawyers and business people, intelligent people who no doubt recognize at least some of the arguments against a more or less “open door” immigration policy, as queuno suggests. But still, what is the evidence that such a policy isn’t the direction they’re tending towards? On the basis of the statements you provide, I think queuno is correct, and your assumption that the church leadership is throwing various caveats into its preferred immigration policy can’t necessarily be supported.

    I like this very much, frankly. Not because I’m an open borders person; far from it. But I like it because I like it when the church gets political–I like it when it gets its hands dirty by reacting to and taking a stand on specific policies and proposals, even when those policies are ones I disagree with. It makes me wonder about my presumptions, wonder if I need to repent of some idea or way of thinking. Maybe the gospel isn’t just universal in theory; maybe it really does have hard, real-world implications (implications that in some ways disturb me) for culture, sovereignty, and the like. Granted that Mark D. is correct–often when the church gets down and dirty in politics, it pretends it actually isn’t; what he called the “wink wink theory of church-state relations” is pretty accurate. (The way the church tried to officially pretend that it wasn’t actually telling anyone how to vote on same-sex marriage laws is an example.) Still, all things considered, I consider this an admirable thing the church is doing, even if (or indeed, perhaps because of the way) it forces me to rethink.

  6. Marc Bohn on February 26, 2008 at 9:11 am

    Mark D. – I think the Church is trying to walk a fine line here. I think most people recognize that it’s in the country’s interest to get a better handle on immigration than currently, but there are likely several hundred thousand members in the United States who are undocumented immigrants. Moreover, there are international implications to any major shifts in U.S. immigration policy, and I’m not sure the Church wants to be caught in that cross-fire.

    Ray – How is my second paragraph ludicrous? I merely say that I think the Church is uncomfortable with the direction the immigration debate is taking. I never argue that all Church leaders are unanimous, but if the First Presidency sends Marlin K. Jensen out to represent the Church’s public face on immigration, that is the Church position. I also never argue that they would oppose more enforcement measures, I simply believe that the Church’s recent public maneuvers seem to indicate that it would likely want a comprehensive approach to be taken, if enforcement measures are beefed up. As to injecting our own biases into discussions like these, I think it’s hard not to. My post never claimed to represent “the” Church position, it simply summarized how I interpret its public moves and asked others what their perspectives on these moves were.

  7. Marc Bohn on February 26, 2008 at 9:17 am

    Russell – I never said the Church was necessarily in favor of enforcement or securing the border or at least that’s not what I meant (but agree with you that it might be a good assumption), I said “as part of any prospective immigration legislation.” Perhaps my meaning wasn’t relayed well though. What I meant by that was that I think that if there are to be measures passed beefing up immigration enforcement, I think the Church would prefer to see a comprehensive approach taken (see comment 3).

  8. Peter LLC on February 26, 2008 at 9:28 am

    In politics, people actually expect a compelling argument.

    I disagree. In politics, people expect to be told what they want to hear–that elected officials are carrying out the will of the electorate. Actually, not even the electorate, just what I want.

    I agree with Adam that proponents of tougher immigration policy do not have to resort to demagoguery, but I am disappointed that they often do.

    There are eternal principles and then there are mission rules. By not being beholden to its constituents clamoring for a quick fix to what ails them at the moment, the church can rightly afford to take a wider view of an enormously complex issue, one that will not be resolved by making life more miserable for the few that run afoul of the ever-shifting mission rules, so to speak.

  9. Mark IV on February 26, 2008 at 9:33 am

    Mark Bohn, just to help clarify (as though there weren’t already enough Mar(c)ks involved!):

    I think Ray was responding to Mark D.’s second paragraph, not yours.

  10. Marc Bohn on February 26, 2008 at 9:35 am

    Ahhh… makes sense. Thank you Mark IV.

  11. Adam Greenwood on February 26, 2008 at 9:38 am

    I think the ideal immigration policy would be one that didn’t have any ill effects for anybody. No illegal immigrants would suffer, no one who wanted to immigrate to the United States would suffer, no American wage earners would have their wages depressed, no assimilation problems would affect America, while no immigrant would have to leave their own culture behind or have cultural divides between parents and children, no lawbreaking would be encouraged, no social services would be burdened, and no legal immigrants or those desiring to immigrate legally would be disadvantaged or treated unfairly. The ideal immigration policy is impossible.

    Weighing all these in the balance, myself, I take a pretty hard line on immigration. I would like to see aggressive measures to enforce our immigration laws and would like to see legal immigration curtailed for some years and rethought. I am sympathetic to the arguments against automatic birthright citizenship.

    At the same time, I’m glad the Church has asked us to have a little compassion and to stop demonizing people. Some of the rhetoric and anger against immigrants coming from my side of the question makes me queasy and when that rhetoric and anger is coming from Mormon and Utahn political leaders, its bad for the Church.

    In my mind, from the perspective of the individual illegal immigrant, our immigration rules are malum prohibitum, not malum in se (in other words, their only moral violation is the violation of the law, unlike things like murder or adultery or same-sex marriage (heh) where the thing is sinful in itself). So this kind of animus doesn’t make sense to me. Its our own fault for not enforcing our own laws. And it certainly doesn’t make sense for the Church to not treat these people as members in full standing, any more than it would for the Church to make systematic efforts to exclude speeders or people who break any of the innumerable regulations that blanket our lives or squatters in some Brazilian favela.

    I also think that when you start loving the illegal, its harder to justify things like deporting the ill, which doesn’t have to be done in order to accomplish over-all enforcement goals.

    Now, maybe the Church wants some specific kind of open borders, transnational legislation. Until the Church says so, though, our only duty is to reason from what the Church has said (at the very least to the extent its addressed to us), not to speculate as to what the Church would like to say or will it end up saying. We do not yet belong to a future Church and we never will belong to a hypothetical, alternative Church. So, with all respect to Marc B., I think his question here is fundamentally misguided.

    I’m pretty sure that at least Br. Jensen has further political views that color what he’s saying here, but where its appropriate I don’t think the brethren should be forced to be silent just because they have political views on the subject. In general I think the Church being open to political views among the leadership, and even different political views on many subjects, so I welcome what has been done here. I also think its good for the Church from a publicity standpoint to be seen making a political intervention that doesn’t fit a conservative stereotype, so from that standpoint its good also (though, curiously, it does fit a social conservative stereotype–remember that Mike Huckabee was an open borders governor and was the most open borders candidate until his South Carolina turn around. If we were to ask, ‘ideally, which candidate would the Church want us to have supported,’ the answer would probably be Mitt Romney and almost certainly not Mike Huckabee, but Romney had one of the stricter approaches to immigration among the candidates).

  12. Russell Arben Fox on February 26, 2008 at 9:46 am

    There are eternal principles and then there are mission rules.

    Someone is going to explain this to mission presidents, right? Maybe? Someday?

    I am very happy to see–and would be even happier to see more of–the church taking itself seriously as a political agent, like the Vatican does. There are, to be sure, downsides to this; my constant hope that a more politically engaged church would be a church that would necessarily have to adjust itself to managing and living with significant amounts of internal diversity and criticism is probably also a vain one, and throwing around examples drawn from Catholicism certainly doesn’t help matters. Still, I can’t help but believe that Peter’s insight–that “the church can rightly afford to take a wider view of an enormously complex issue”–is correct, and thus can be an important addition to the democratic, state-and-market-centered politics in the U.S….even if it makes many saints uncomfortable. Being a covenanted member of the church probably ought to make us more uncomfortable with the status quo than it usually does.

  13. Peter LLC on February 26, 2008 at 9:55 am

    I am sympathetic to the arguments against automatic birthright citizenship.

    Part of the immigration issue is closing so-called loopholes, and automatic birthright citizenship is often cited as one particularly suited to abuse. When I consider the ills the 14th Amendment was meant to redress, however, I’ll take a few pregnant moms working the system in exchange for the status quo ante. Still, where exceptions are made, exploitations are sure to follow.

  14. Mark B. on February 26, 2008 at 10:11 am

    Since it’s easy to adopt a position in discussions like this that “l’eglise, c’est moi,” I will do exactly that:

    The position of the Church grows out of its fundamental doctrine that all are children of God.

    The idea of punishing a person for working is ludicrous. Stop and think about “working without authorization” for a minute–or longer, if you must–and tell us what’s right with getting upset about somebody coming to the United States to work. (I can almost understand getting upset about someone coming here to mooch our well-deserved wealth–I mean, we earned it after all and heaven knows we deserve it!–but somebody coming here to work. In my best Daily Universe-letter-writerese: I am appalled . . . .)

    There is nothing morally wrong with moving from one spot on the earth’s surface to another. The borders dividing political entities are not visible from space, and all the laws heaped up on those lines are based on the flimsiest of foundations.

    Moving from those principles to the Utah legislature (talk about a fast fall from the sublime to the ridiculous!) is a little more complicated:

    The government (the one in Washington) that has established immigration policy, and has declared it a civil wrong to enter the country without proper documents, has effectively allowed millions to do that for years, and has adopted ever harsher penalties for those who have committed that minor transgression, without ever taking serious steps to enforce them. The consequence of those actions has been to restrict severely the out-migration of persons who are here without proper documents, and to prevent normalization of status even for long-term residents with steady employment or with close family ties to U.S. citizens.

    Demagogues speak of the immigration mess as a crisis, or as an invasion, stirring up the ignorant, enraging them and helping them channel their unease about a changing society into a “legitimate” argument: they broke the law and should be punished. The “legal” part of the argument is inconsequential; it’s just a cover for their unease about change. (Note that I didn’t say it was simply a cover for their anti-foreigner bigotry, even though that’s exactly what it is.)

    That leads legislators in places like Utah and Arizona and Oklahoma (see “ridiculous,” above), to enact harsh measures in an attempt to solve the non-existent crisis, all the while hiding their anti-immigrant bias beneath a thin veil of “honoring and obeying the law.”

    And the Church’s response to that is: who on earth do you think you’re kidding? (I originally chose a different location for those whom they might think they’re kidding, but bowdlerized my comment to avoid offense to those who believe that the brethren never say “hell.”) We know that all these laws grow out of anti-foreigner bias. We say that you should remember the humanity of these people, and to act with compassion, but we really mean that you shouldn’t base new laws on nativist bigotry.

  15. Marc Bohn on February 26, 2008 at 10:11 am

    Adam – I can’t say I quite agree. The Church here has injected itself into the immigration debates with remarks that, as Russell points out, force us to rethink our presumptions. I don’t think it misguided at all to explore what the Church means by a “compassionate” and “humane” immigration policy and consider what sort of policy the Church itself might like to see in place. I, for one, certainly did not presume to speak for the Church, but merely tried to assess what exactly the Church’s public moves on the issue meant and asked for others to share their perspectives.

    As far as Elder Jensen goes, I’m not sure his remarks can just be chalked up to his ‘further political views.’ He spoke at the Interfaith event on assignment from the First Presidency and made several remarks where he claimed to speak for the Church. Certainly, there are likely other Church leaders that may disagree with him, but they weren’t asked by the First Presidency to represent the Church’s position on this issue.

  16. Marc Bohn on February 26, 2008 at 10:16 am

    I may not be around much for the rest of the day as work as kind of heated up. But I’ll try to pop in when I can.

  17. Mark B. on February 26, 2008 at 10:18 am

    Amen to Peter’s note on birthright citizenship.

    There would be no better way to perpetuate and exacerbate the mess that our immigration have become than to deny citizenship to some people who are born here. See, e.g., third generation Turkish “guest workers” in Germany.

    And, the idea that a child born in the U.S. can bestow some sort of immediate benefit on its parents is born of near complete ignorance of the immigration laws. The complaint is just another red flag raised by the demagogues.

  18. Adam Greenwood on February 26, 2008 at 10:23 am

    The Church here has injected itself into the immigration debates with remarks that, as Russell points out, force us to rethink our presumptions. I don’t think it misguided at all to explore what the Church means by a “compassionate” and “humane” immigration policy and consider what sort of policy the Church itself might like to see in place.

    I disagree that the remarks force us to rethink our assumptions. I don’t think its misguided to explore what the Church means by what it says to the extent we’re not guessing or speculating.

  19. Adam Greenwood on February 26, 2008 at 10:24 am

    I don’t want to perpetuate a threadjack on birthright citizenship, but if anyone wants to discuss it they can email me at adam [] times and seasons [] org

  20. Marc Bohn on February 26, 2008 at 10:32 am

    I’m not sure that would allow for much exploring on what the Church meant. Exploring what the Church meant here by its very nature is speculative.

  21. Adam Greenwood on February 26, 2008 at 10:40 am

    That’s where we disagree, Marc B. I see no problem with moral or doctrinal reasoning that gets out to where the Church is silent, even though that’s speculative, but I don’t see any point in speculating about the Church position on something beyond what the Church has said.

  22. Nate Oman on February 26, 2008 at 10:40 am

    It seems to me that the if Marc’s reading is correct, then the Church is being moved by a universalist impulse at a couple of levels. First, its sympathetic attitude toward undocumented workers, suggests that it sympathizes with their desire to better their economic situation, even if that increases the competition faced by native-born workers. A nation-based response says something like, “Well, it matters that American workers are being hurt,” or seeks to defend the immigrants by saying, “Well, Americans benefit.” The injenction of the idea of “Americans” into the mix doesn’t seem to do much work for the church. This is a potentially very big deal in how one thinks about politics beyond immigration.

  23. Marc Bohn on February 26, 2008 at 10:50 am

    Mark B. – I’m still a little unclear from your post what exactly you think the Church’s position is on immigration. What sorts of measures do you think the Church is targeting with its calls for “compassion,” “humanity,” and “thinking twice before you cut?” Are enforcement only measures uncompassionate?

  24. Marc Bohn on February 26, 2008 at 10:56 am

    Adam – As I just noted in my comment to Mark B., the Church has called for more compassion, humanity, and for us to think twice before we “cut.” All of these comments were directed at the current legislative debate going on in Utah, considering a myriad of bills on immigration. Is it really inappropriate to speculate on which bills currently under consideration may have give the Church cause for concern? Or what measures might be more in line with the compassion and humanity the Church is urging? It seems to me that’s exactly the type of dialogue the Church is trying to encourage.

  25. Nebraska on February 26, 2008 at 11:03 am

    Two bishops in my Stake are illegal. That at least tells me that the Church isn\’t concerned about the issue versus obeying the laws of the land.

  26. Adam Greenwood on February 26, 2008 at 11:06 am

    Is it really inappropriate to speculate on which bills currently under consideration may have give the Church cause for concern? Or what measures might be more in line with the compassion and humanity the Church is urging? It seems to me that’s exactly the type of dialogue the Church is trying to encourage.

    You’re stealing a base here, assuming that compassion and humanity and measured judgment are incompatible with immigration restriction laws. I reject that assumption. At most you can say Church is for giving illegals the same tuition breaks that citizens and legal immigrants get, because Elder Ballard is a member of the Alliance for Unity which has unanimously opposed them, but I think even that is going too far. Its too limiting to GA public involvement and is too much like Kremlinology.

    For the record I oppose giving illegals the same tuition breaks that citizens and legal immigrants get, but its a pretty trivial matter and I can’t say I care much either way. At the state level, most of the immigration debate is largely symbolism unless employment enforcement is on the table as in Arizona or Oklahoma.

  27. Marc Bohn on February 26, 2008 at 11:08 am

    Nate – Fascinating comment. Ultimately, I have to think that sort of universalist consideration will inevitably drive the Church position on issues in the years to come, especially as our General Authority leadership becomes more international. (See Elder Uchtdorf’s remark to Deutsche Welle on how the U.S. “could also learn how to be more supportive and how to reduce its egoism.”)

  28. Marc Bohn on February 26, 2008 at 11:12 am

    Adam – I don’t think I’m in any way stealing a base. You left out Jensen’s admonition to “think twice before we cut” and Ballard’s opposition to the repeal of in-state tuition benefits to undocumented immigrants, not to mention the Church’s lobbying on exceptions to immigration law to allow it to continue to call undocumented immigrants as clergy and missionaries. I think these sorts of things are hard to square with immigration restriction laws generally, and they, in my view, shed light on what the Church means by “compassion.”

  29. Russell Arben Fox on February 26, 2008 at 11:14 am

    Nate’s comments (#22) put a little meat on the bones I alluded to in my initial comments about “culture, sovereignty, and the like” (#5). There is, of course, as Adam is reminding us, no evidence from given church statements on the subject thusfar that the brethren, or even a significant number of them, are being moved by fundamentally “universalist” presumptions. But nonetheless, here we have statements from Elder Jensen, speaking (he claims) for the church, to the effect that laws regarding national boundaries and so forth are mere “civil codes,” as it were, like stop signs; there’s no moral content there, hence the people who violate them haven’t actually done anything wrong–they’ve only made a mistake. That is, for those of us who think nationality and community and identity and culture are morally important categories, a tremendously significant claim, one that–I think quite reasonably–be taken to infer a preference (again, on the part of at least some of the brethren) for seeing social and economic problems in universalist terms.

    Maybe I’m wrong about my inference; I certainly think the church is wrong if it really is, in fact, thinking this way. But it is good to have to confront contrary beliefs; it is good to see the institutional church come out swinging in the political realm. May it happen more often.

  30. gst on February 26, 2008 at 11:14 am

    I’m in favor of whichever enforcement mechanism is responsible for the recent succussful expulsion of Steve Evans from our borders. Extra points for sending him all the way to Asia, even though he’s a Canadian (or “frostback,” as we nativists like to say).

  31. annegb on February 26, 2008 at 11:18 am

    I have mixed emotions about illegals. We have lots, lots of them in southern Utah. There’s an area of town where most of the Mexicans live, although I believe many of them work on surrounding farms. Many also work in construction. When we added on to our dining room, the contracter who laid the cement were mostly Mexicans. I think there were at least ten men who came several times to work.

    I really have no beef with those who work in that way. Many of them used to come through my checkstand at Wal-Mart, whole families, often with a sharp-eyed grandma who couldn’t speak English, but who sure could read numbers and boy, the Spanish would fly if I made a mistake! They bought lots of vegetables and fruits, stuff I never cooked with and they were good people, you could see it.

    My concern lies with the drug traffickers; many of them are Hispanic, at least based on arrest reports. The area of town where most of them live is always crawling with police and suspicious characters. I used to drive one of my Alateen kids home who lived there and it was sort of scary if there weren’t any police around. I feel bad that that part of town has gone so far downhill.

    I recently spent months, long hours at the courthouse observing one particular judge for the paper, and I noticed that many, many of those charged with crimes were Mexicans and many of those often admitted to being illegal. I noted one day four Mexicans, two charged with a DUI, one charged with aggravated assault and one charged with aggravated sexual assault. Two admitted to being illegal, including the guy charged with rape. I followed one kid (he was a kid, really) out of the courtroom and asked his name and what he was charged with (I’d missed it in the chaos). He rather guiltily admitted DUI. Then the guy standing next to him admitted to DUI, also, although he hadn’t been in the courtroom that day.

    They were young and nice looking kids, brothers. I asked them if they were here legally and they lied. I mean, it was so obvious, they both hesitated and looked at each other and said, “yes, they were legal.” I didn’t make a big deal out if, I found it very sad.

    But all four charged that day (arraignments, boring) worked in construction.

    So I have three concerns about illegals: drug trade, serious criminals, and those serious criminals are coming into our homes to lay sheet rock.

    Our paper prints the arrest reports every day and I swear, the majority of them are hispanic. I can’t put them together with the large happy (well-fed) families I met at Wal-Mart. I really think we have a problem, especially in border states and in Utah. Maybe Nevada, but Utah, more, because they come right up the I-15 corridor.

    I’d follow the prophet, no matter what he said, however.

  32. annegb on February 26, 2008 at 11:20 am

    gst, you are my very favorite commenter :)—come on over to the dark side, we never shut down threads even when they’re clearly awful LOL.

  33. Adam Greenwood on February 26, 2008 at 11:21 am

    You left out Jensen’s admonition to “think twice before we cut”

    Lawmakers should think twice.

    and Ballard’s opposition to the repeal of in-state tuition benefits to undocumented immigrants,

    see above

    not to mention the Church’s lobbying on exceptions to immigration law to allow it to continue to call undocumented immigrants as clergy and missionaries

    I don’t see it. The Church is not responsible for enforcing immigration laws any more than it is responsible for enforcing speeding laws and so on. Without some kind of law directed at employers, we won’t be able to control the immigration problem, but making an exception for unpaid religious workers strikes me as a reasonable accommodation of religion.

  34. bbell on February 26, 2008 at 11:21 am

    Here is my take. I am in favor of legal immigration 100% and opposed to illegal immigration

    1. The “conservative ox is getting gored” In other words the FP/Jensen is going against the political beliefs of the conservative members in the corridor

    2. This ignoring of laws does seem to be a direct violation of the 12th article of faith. In order for an illegal to work usually they have done one of the following. A. ID theft. B. fraud (fake documents) C. they are self employed and not paying SSN. If I was aware of a bishop or SP who was illegal and I knew for certain they had done A or B or C I would not raise my hand to sustain since they were committing serious crimes. Far different then simple trespass. There is a real contradiction here. I am not aware of any other issue were the church currently turns a blind eye to lawbreaking. How does one that is doing A, B or C answer the “honest in your dealings” in the TR interview?

    3. This Latino immigration from south of the Border seems to be a direct fulfillment of multiple BOM prophecies

    4. Everyone is a child of God. The pictures of families where Mom and Dad have been taken away by the INS and the kids and other spouse are left grieving are heartwrenching

  35. Frank McIntyre on February 26, 2008 at 11:22 am

    0. The benefits in higher wages to immigrants from coming here massively outweigh the financial costs to us of having them here. Immigration is probably the single most effective development policy around. Thus it would make sense to find a way to make it work.
    1. Other wages probably are not much depressed by illegal immigrants. They increase labor demand at the same time they increase supply, thus it tends to be a wash.
    2. Due to zoning regulations that keep housing construction down, housing prices may rise due to more immigrants.
    3. If we had decent employment control, we could impose some sort of fee on immigrants (either a one time payment or a payroll deduction) that would let them still earn more and help pay for the social services imposed on the local area by immigrants. In fact, there may be enough money available from this to make everyone a winner.
    4. In general, illegal immigrants are a boon to the federal budget because they pay payroll tax but rarely collect. They are costly to local governments because they partake of local services like education and so forth.
    5. It is a dumb system that makes a behavior illegal, and then fails to enforce it so badly that it gets violated in this widespread of a fashion. I would like to see the law enforced, at the same time that the flow of legal immigrants is massively increased.
    6. Border enforcement is basically a joke. Probably the most effective and efficient enforcement is going to have to come from employment level dictates (you can’t deduct worker wages unless you can show they are legal- for example). Also, it would make sense to be reasonably stingy with some social services for a while after a person arrives, to discourage people from moving in order to get payments.

  36. Nate Oman on February 26, 2008 at 11:25 am

    gst, of course, is absolutely right about the threat from north of the border. The influx of Canadians is particularlly insidious, particularlly when they start polluting our culture with their strange culture and cuisine.

  37. Adam Greenwood on February 26, 2008 at 11:27 am

    RAF,
    my personal view is that “nationality and community and identity and culture are morally important categories”. At the same time, from the standpoint of the immigrant who is looking to get out of poverty, I think the immorality involved is the immorality of breaking the law. No law, no problem. Do you think those two intuitions are inconsistent?

  38. Nate Oman on February 26, 2008 at 11:28 am

    What Frank said…

  39. Adam Greenwood on February 26, 2008 at 11:28 am

    The only solution is to invade Canada.* They shouldn’t cross the border, the border should cross them.

    *By Canada I mean Alberta, because it has oil, and BC, because its pretty. Also wherever Steve E. is from, because writhing under the boot of the oppressor builds character.

  40. Nate Oman on February 26, 2008 at 11:31 am

    Adam: I’ll hazard an answer to your question. If you really think that nationality and culture are morally relevent categories whose ‘undermining’ constitutes a real moral wrong, then your intuition about breaking immigration laws are wrong. You may, of course, still consistently say that even though the breaking of the laws is wrong in a malum in se sense, that the good of getting out of poverty outweighs this evil. However, I still think that a strong view of cultural integrity requires that view that immigration is a morally culpable act. It would be comparable to the evil of putting a McDonalds in the Duomo of Florence.

  41. Russell Arben Fox on February 26, 2008 at 11:33 am

    Other wages probably are not much depressed by illegal immigrants. They increase labor demand at the same time they increase supply, thus it tends to be a wash.

    Of course, Frank, you recognize that this tends to be the sort of thing said by people like you and me who have not been downsized or seen our wages decline, and thus have the privilege of viewing the economy in abstract, “overall” terms.

    If we had decent employment control, we could impose some sort of fee on immigrants (either a one time payment or a payroll deduction) that would let them still earn more and help pay for the social services imposed on the local area by immigrants.

    Yes! More government supervision of private transactions for the sake of the public good. I’m warming to you, Frank.

    Probably the most effective and efficient enforcement is going to have to come from employment level dictates (you can’t deduct worker wages unless you can show they are legal- for example).

    All is forgiven Frank; this is perfectly wise.

  42. Nate Oman on February 26, 2008 at 11:34 am

    Adam: I think that we also ought to grab the good side of Niagra falls. Ontario is filled with pinkos, so we can leave them, and Quebec is filled with french-speakers, which we obviously want to leave it as well. I am conflicted about the Maritimes, which are beautiful but an economic catastrophe. Getting the Yukon and other Artic territories would be an obvious boon, as it would massively increase the amount of pristine wilderness in which the U.S. government could authorize oil exploration.

  43. Adam Greenwood on February 26, 2008 at 11:35 am

    You may, of course, still consistently say that even though the breaking of the laws is wrong in a malum in se sense, that the good of getting out of poverty outweighs this evil.

    That may be all I’m saying, but I still don’t see why it would be wrong to go live in a country, or try to become part of that country, if that country permitted it, even if one thinks that countries qua countries matter.

    I still think that a strong view of cultural integrity requires that view that immigration is a morally culpable act

    That would depend on my willingness to assimilate and the openness of the host culture to my assimilation.

    Seeing the family as a morally relevant category does not militate against adoption or house guests. Depends on the circumstances.

  44. Russell Arben Fox on February 26, 2008 at 11:37 am

    Adam, what Nate said (#40). Basically, you can certainly have multiple moral goods, and sometimes satisfying one good will involve the undermining of another, and some may call that justified. But it doesn’t mean there hasn’t been a moral wrong committed, all the same. (Huge, threadjacky leap, but I’ll make it anyway: God commanded Nephi to kill Laban, and therefore gave His okay to it, but that doesn’t mean Nephi didn’t commit a moral wrong that probably haunted him nonetheless.)

  45. Nate Oman on February 26, 2008 at 11:37 am

    RAF: The question is what sort of government supervisison you want. It is one thing to say that we want effective taxation, which is a pre-requisite for any functioning government regardless of size. It is another thing to say that the substance of contracts are best specified (or at least super-intended) by government regulators, especially those with any background in continental political philosophy ;->

  46. Adam Greenwood on February 26, 2008 at 11:40 am

    Nate O., those are sensible addenda to our definition of Canada. I’ll add them to War Plan Maple Leaf.

    Really, it pains my heart that anyone would have to leave home to immigrate to America. Vive l’Empire!
    :)

  47. gst on February 26, 2008 at 11:40 am

    There are entire parts of Orange County that I don’t even recognize anymore–overrun with Canadian youths decked out in parkas and toques, blaring Anne Murray from their iPod headphones, clustered around Coleman stoves cooking up back bacon, harassing passersby: “What all this aboot, eh?” Mark my words: If we don’t get ahold of this Maple Menace, there won’t be any financial services, legal, or entertainment industry jobs left for the rest of us. (And I don’t buy for a minute Evans’ protestation that he’s here doing M&A work that Americans won’t do.)

  48. Adam Greenwood on February 26, 2008 at 11:42 am

    Basically, you can certainly have multiple moral goods, and sometimes satisfying one good will involve the undermining of another, and some may call that justified. But it doesn’t mean there hasn’t been a moral wrong committed, all the same

    This is what I tend to think of as a transgression, not a sin. But in my mind nearly everything we do is a transgression of one kind or another, which I believe Christ atones for. That’s a subject for another post, no doubt.

  49. Adam Greenwood on February 26, 2008 at 11:43 am

    Right on, GST! When it comes to pasty-white geekitude, I say AMERICA FIRST!

  50. Nate Oman on February 26, 2008 at 11:44 am

    Adam: I suppose that it depends on what one means by culture. Assimilation is a very tricky proposition. If one assumes that it means that immigrants take on an entirely new cultural persona without changing the culture into which they are assimilated, then I suspect that assimilation is impossible. Once one acknowledges (as I think one must) that assimilation changes culture, then there is a sense in which the question becomes much less binary — you are simply talking about the degree of cultural change (destruction?) that one is willing to allow. If you think that a culture as it exists now is a good thing whose preservation is morally praiseworthy and whose disintigration is morally blameworthy, then it seems to me that the immigrant commits a moral wrong. Their coming to live in a foreign culture is rather like the insensitive tourist who perches on the lap of Budda in a Thai temple for a snap shot.

    For the record, I don’t subscribe necessarily to the view of cultural implicit in this argument, as it I see it as a necessarily dynamic thing, and accordingly I see moral reasoning about culture that assumes — even implicitly — that authenticity consists of stasis to be fundamentally mistaken.

  51. annegb on February 26, 2008 at 11:51 am

    Our Sunday School lesson is taught by a local farmer who employs legal Mexicans on work permits. I believe he also employs illegals. But the main gist of his lesson is how this wave of Mexican immigrants, legal and illegal, is a fulfillment of prophecy. I’d never thought of that before.

    I’m pretty sure if anybody is worried about immigration between Canada and Americans, it the Canadians.

  52. Peter LLC on February 26, 2008 at 11:52 am

    Ever since le dollar’s completely illegitimate rebound knocked The Real Dollar from its well-deserved perch atop the foreign exchange market last September, Canucks have descended in hordes to snap up America’s Heartland. It’s disgusting, really.

  53. Mark B. on February 26, 2008 at 11:54 am

    To answer Marc Bohn’s question (23)

    I left the answer vague precisely because I don’t think the church has (and perhaps never will have) a general policy on immigration law.

    On the other hand, I think (and I hope) that the Church will become less and less America-centric, and that our patriotism (for whatever land we live in) will be tempered by an ever-present recognition that these nations will pass away when He rules whose right it is to rule.

    The concerns about linguistic and cultural assimilation should be allayed by two fundamental truths: that rates of English assimilation by the current wave of Hispanic immigrants are higher than corresponding rates in previous immigrant groups (citation needed) and, as to culture, American culture has survived the immigration to her shores of our ancestors. Besides, what’s to save in American culture that hasn’t been gutted by her own children–just think Paris Hilton and Brittney Spears, for starters.

  54. Adam Greenwood on February 26, 2008 at 11:58 am

    If you think that a culture as it exists now is a good thing whose preservation is morally praiseworthy and whose disintigration is morally blameworthy, then it seems to me that the immigrant commits a moral wrong. Their coming to live in a foreign culture is rather like the insensitive tourist who perches on the lap of Budda in a Thai temple for a snap shot.

    For one, you’re ignoring the role of consent. If the Thai temple didn’t mind folks perching on the lap of Buddha, I’m not sure it would be such a big problem for me to do it. For another, you’re ignoring that culture and its preservation can be a moral good without being an overriding moral good. That being so, a country or a culture could reasonably decide to allow immigration for economic reasons or because it culturally values immigration under some conditions, or so on, and as an immigrant I would not be morally required to second-guess that decision. That being so, from the standpoint of the immigrant the question really would be whether the place of emigration allows it or not.

    I hear your point about authenticity not consisting of stasis. That idea sounds right to me, though I don’t think we should say that culture and authenticity are the same thing. But I’m not sure how to apply that idea here, since I haven’t heard any way of treating culture as an ongoing project that doesn’t end up treating it as immaterial and open to anything. Probably the best we can do is Edmund Burke’s idea that you get these wise statesmen who just somehow know what developments would be consistent with the culture and which wouldn’t.

  55. Adam Greenwood on February 26, 2008 at 12:00 pm

    Canucks have descended in hordes to snap up America’s Heartland. It’s disgusting, really.

    Yes, and if they had more kids they’d be outbreeding us too. Beware the Mellow Peril.

  56. mitch on February 26, 2008 at 12:04 pm

    Here’s one way to think of it. Maybe the Church doesn’t really care about the particulars of a country’s immigration policy (and there are other countries’ policies to consider here beyond the United States, no?) beyond the genuine concern in the day-to-day treatment of real people. Maybe when they ask for more compassion, they are simply trying to interject an oft-neglected value in our political discourse. The longer view on the whole issue (which I think is always on the mind of the brethren) is that nation-states and their borders are temporary, arbitrary, and subject to erasure.

    This post has given me opportunity to reflect on my personal immigration policy. And I realize that while I think about economics and labor issues (and to a much lesser extent crime and terrorism, which I think are largely red herrings), my ideas on the issue are really driven by compassion. Having worked with refugee communities — not all of whom are properly documented themselves — from many parts of the world, I care less about the fear-mongering predictions of anti-immigration pundits and care much, more more about men and women who are just trying to find some stability and comfort in this life.

    But I don’t think the Church can — or will — say much more than “compassion,” given the distribution of its members. No doubt that many of our US members will have a hard enough time just with that statement alone. Some of Brother Romney’s rhetoric wasn’t very compassionate at all.

  57. annahannah on February 26, 2008 at 12:12 pm

    #34–Here is my take. I am in favor of legal immigration 100% and opposed to illegal immigration

    #35–5. It is a dumb system that makes a behavior illegal, and then fails to enforce it so badly that it gets violated in this widespread of a fashion. I would like to see the law enforced, at the same time that the flow of legal immigrants is massively increased

    I agree with these. Illegal is illegal. Find a way to fix the system so that immigration is more fair and easier to accomplish. Start the line with people who are outside country waiting to come in.

  58. maren on February 26, 2008 at 12:20 pm

    I must chime in to respond to #31, because I often here this retoric about Mexicans being drug dealers, etc. Just a little statistical lesson for you, using African American data. I use it to show racial prejudicing in arrests for drug use. This is from Statistical Abstract of the United States, National Household Survey on Drug Abuse, Uniform Crime Reports and Bureau of Justice Statistics reports, 1993.
    African Americans make up 12% of the US population.
    They make up 13% of drug users.
    They make 35% of arrests for drug possession.
    They make up 55% of all convictions.
    Finally, they make up 74% of all prision sentences for drug possession.

    Perhaps, just perhaps Mexicans in southern Utah do not have the means to get away from the police with just a slap on the wrist as do the rich white kids dealing drugs, that is why they are the ones you see in court. Just a thought.
    There are good and bad people everywhere breaking laws.
    There is also forgiveness.
    The majority of people coming to this country have starving children and have no legal way to get here. However, it is a choice between feeding their family, or obeying the law.
    I am married to someone who was able to come here legally. He is one of the few lucky ones, and we know it.
    Go read or watch Les Miserables. Who was the hero, Javert or Valjean? The man who obeyed the rule of law, or the man who stole a loaf of bread, broke parole, assumed a fake identity, and ran from the law his entire life? I recall general authorities alluding to this story often, and it seems to me that the compassion is for Valjean.
    I have no idea what it is like to have a starving child. No idea. But if I have to pay a little more in taxes to make sure that an undocumented immigrant has an education, I feel fine about it. The US immigration laws are not fair, and I know I would do whatever I thought necessary to feed my family. Those who have not been through the immigration process have no idea how stupid it is to say “just go home and do it right”.
    The church says have compassion. Realize that your brothers and sisters are starving.

  59. Jason J on February 26, 2008 at 12:21 pm

    I’m glad to see the Church taking some steps to curtail this law of the land monomania. Somewhere along the way the 12th Article of Faith became the “first and great commandment.”

  60. dpc on February 26, 2008 at 12:25 pm

    On invading Canada, I think Teddy Roosevelt said:

    “Let the fight come if it must. I don’t care whether our sea coast cities are bombarded or not; we would take Canada.”

  61. CraigH on February 26, 2008 at 12:25 pm

    I’m no American historian, but I’ve read a fair amount lately over the slavery debate in the northern states before the Civil War. One of the hot-button issues was what to do with fugitive slaves who’d escaped from the south. By law, they were supposed to be arrested and returned to their owners in the south. This happened often, including a highly publicized case in Boston which stirred up anger on both sides and got the attention of Ralph Waldo Emerson. The one side kept insisting that this was the law and it must be obeyed, and the other side said the law was immoral and ought to be ignored and then repealed. Emerson favored the side of repeal, and his view, backed up by numerous examples, was that laws aren’t changed because they’re repealed first, but they’re disobeyed and ignored first and then repealed by the relevant governing bodies. To simply insist that illegal is illegal and the law is the law isn’t terribly convincing and doesn’t really advance debate over the value or even morality of the law.

  62. Ray on February 26, 2008 at 12:25 pm

    Walking a mile in someone else’s shoes teaches important lessons, but one of the biggest is how much other people’s shoes hurt.

  63. Jason J on February 26, 2008 at 12:32 pm

    Just a little historical anecdote for those wringing their hands about preservation of culture: A young Ben Franklin was quite nervous in 1753 that the influx of Germans was going to doom Pennsylvanian culture. With some 250 years of hindsight, I think it’s safe to say that his worries were a little overblown.

    Letter from Benjamin Franklin to Peter Collinson (May 9, 1753), in THE POLITICAL THOUGHT OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN, at 78 (Ralph L. Ketcham ed., 1965) (“In short unless the stream of [German] importation could be turned from this to other Colonies, as you very judiciously propose, they will soon so out number us, that all the advantages we have will not [in My Opinion] be able to preserve our language, and even our Government will become precarious.”

    May not be much of a response, I know, but I still find it amusing.

  64. Jason J on February 26, 2008 at 12:34 pm

    Ok, so he wasn’t very young at all, but considering how long the guy lived…

  65. we on February 26, 2008 at 12:47 pm

    I’m fifty-nine, white, and a man who wants to stand up for undocumented immigrants. I laud the Church and its authorities for calling for compassion. Elected representatives who have voted or plan to vote to increase hardships for such immigrants in Utah should back off, show compassion, think, check their facts, be humane, and measure twice before cutting—to mention some suggestions of Utah’s religious leaders, including those of the predominant one in Utah. Recent actions by such elected representatives prove one thing: incompetence. Past actions by such representatives prove one thing: incompetence. That all proves one other thing: the majority of voters in Utah lack competence. We keep voting back federal and state representatives and senators who keep failing to show compassion, think, check their facts, be humane, and measure twice before cutting. Of note in this issue is the fact that those directly affected have almost no voice. How many undocumented immigrants have found voice in the in the media, the blogs, or in the public forums? Possibly that’s not because those venues would not give them voice, but because of the justified fears, lack of education, and societal disadvantages of such undocumented immigrants. That’s probably true at the legislature too. Think of injustices the U.S. and its states have perpetrated historically under the so-called rule of law: slavery, denial of the vote, discrimination, etc. When laws lack compassion, we suffer as a society and a nation. Having deep awareness of the suffering of another coupled with the wish to relieve it is compassion. Look it up.

  66. gst on February 26, 2008 at 12:49 pm

    Thanks, old white guy.

  67. Jonovitch on February 26, 2008 at 1:14 pm

    I’ve gone back and forth on this issue for a while (my wife is a legal permanent U.S. resident from Germany, and one of the best young men in our ward is an “illegal” Mexican convert of a couple years who’s been here for years with his family [none of the rest of them are Church members]).

    I realized today, reading this thread, that in-state tuition for “illegals” is a brilliant idea! Even if these college-bound kids weren’t born here, and not technically “citizens,” if they qualify for higher education and want to go, by all means, let’s help them out! They would only increase their English skillz, math skillz, and computer hacking skillz; they would only be *more* likely to get a higher paying job (read: lotsa lotsa payroll taxes); and if they had bought *anything* during their teenage years (not to mention their “illegal” parents), they’d have been paying state sales tax all along, as well as state and local taxes on utilities, property, etc.

    The only argument I can see against in-state tuition, is “yes, but their *illegal* and we don’t want to encourage them” — to which I respond, why the hell not?! (See comment 14 for more on “hell”.) We don’t want to incentivize their further assimilation into American culture? We don’t want to incentivize their higher learning and better earning for many years to come? We don’t want to incentivize their children earning higher degrees? (BTW, parents who earn degrees have kids who earn degrees, especially in the case of moms.) We don’t want to help them stay off the streets, off of welfare, and out of prisons?

    Other than the “illegal is illegal” argument (see comment 61 for a rebuttal to that), I just don’t see why we wouldn’t want to offer in-state tuition rates to all state residents, whether they are technically “citizens” or not. If someone (Adam?) has some good thoughts on this, please share. I’m open to new ideas. Thanks!

    Jon

  68. TMD on February 26, 2008 at 1:24 pm

    It seems to me that the church leadership is particularly concerned with the motivations underlaying the immigration debate, which so often seem to tend toward animus, even if they start out elsewhere. Certainly, a technocratic discussion of how to attend to the issues attendant with the great demand for admission to our country would generate neither the heat nor the smoke that the current debates have–though it would probably generate a great deal more light for all sides.

    Hence, the call for compassion.

  69. we on February 26, 2008 at 1:41 pm

    gst: LOL. Yes, it is. Not old enough or wise. I leave wisdom to the Latin-slinging pundits.

  70. Brad Kramer on February 26, 2008 at 1:46 pm

    “This ignoring of laws does seem to be a direct violation of the 12th article of faith. In order for an illegal to work usually they have done one of the following. A. ID theft. B. fraud (fake documents) C. they are self employed and not paying SSN. If I was aware of a bishop or SP who was illegal and I knew for certain they had done A or B or C I would not raise my hand to sustain since they were committing serious crimes. Far different then simple trespass. There is a real contradiction here. I am not aware of any other issue were the church currently turns a blind eye to lawbreaking. How does one that is doing A, B or C answer the “honest in your dealings” in the TR interview?”

    Church leaders (going a lot higher up than bishops and SPs) are lucky that most of the membership had a less Manichean view of the world while many of them — including President Taylor and most of the Q12) spent the better part of a decade self-consciously disobeying the laws of the land and evading discovery and prosecution via an elaborate underground, easily comparable to the kind of “serious crimes” for which you’d apparently toss your fellow saints under the bus in the name of law and order. Would the crucifixion have been morally justified and/or necessary if it could be historically demonstrated (which it arguably can) that Jesus’ actions did, in fact, constitute political sedition against Rome?

  71. Frank McIntyre on February 26, 2008 at 1:52 pm

    RAF:

    “Yes! More government supervision of private transactions for the sake of the public good. I’m warming to you, Frank.”

    The beauty of economics is to figure out when a regulation is a good idea and when it isn’t, not, as your commie friends are wont to think, simply to provide cover for the running dogs. I am, for example, all in favor of a government that enforces property rights and contracts. Two things that are both “the public good” and “public goods”.

  72. Jeremy on February 26, 2008 at 1:54 pm

    I suspect that the Brethren spoke out on this issue for two reasons: for the sake of immigrants themselves, and for the sake of the saints. The call for compassion for immigrants is an obvious outgrowth of simply Christianity. But I also think the Brethren have become worried at how the immigration debate in Utah has stoked the flames of racism among the saints in Utah.

    Sadly, and ironically, in the evidence of this latter problem manifested itself quite clearly in the reaction to the news coverage about Elder Jensen’s and Elder Ballard’s comments. The Deseret News has a front page tracker listing the most-commented-upon articles. Three articles covering the Brethren’s comments on the immigration issue stayed on that list for quite some time, and a perusal of the comments showed an alarming willingness on the part of many of the professed faithful to speak evil of Elder Jensen and Elder Ballard, usually in the context of self-righteously clamorous invocations of the 12th A of F — mingled, of course, with xenophobic scapegoating of Mexicans.

    I’m a little too quick to notice, then, a couple of probably inadvertent references in this thread to “Mr. Jensen” (rather than Elder Jensen) or to the fact that “he claims” to have been sent by the First Presidency to make his comments.

  73. Frank McIntyre on February 26, 2008 at 1:55 pm

    RAF: “Of course, Frank, you recognize that this tends to be the sort of thing said by people like you and me who have not been downsized or seen our wages decline, and thus have the privilege of viewing the economy in abstract, “overall” terms.”

    Russell, this may come as a shock, but I am a labor economist. Making statements about labor markets _is_ my job. The question is not whether or not the claim is self-interested (it isn’t) but whether it is true (it probably is). If the opposite were the case I would have no trouble saying it.

  74. Brad Kramer on February 26, 2008 at 2:01 pm

    “Three articles covering the Brethren’s comments on the immigration issue stayed on that list for quite some time, and a perusal of the comments showed an alarming willingness on the part of many of the professed faithful to speak evil of Elder Jensen and Elder Ballard, usually in the context of self-righteously clamorous invocations of the 12th A of F — mingled, of course, with xenophobic scapegoating of Mexicans.”

    Don’t forget comments referencing the fact that Elder Jensen is speaking from a position of sheltered, privileged naivete, not himself living in a poorer area or having his own ward overrun by illegals.

  75. Adam Greenwood on February 26, 2008 at 2:11 pm

    Jonovitch,
    your argument assumes the permanence of those immigrants who are already here illegally and that creating a hospitable climate to illegals (through, inter alia, cheap education) does not encourage more illegal immigration. Immigration conservatives would probably disagree.

  76. Joel on February 26, 2008 at 2:28 pm

    I agree with those that have said that we cannot assume that a church statement encouraging compassion, even at a propitious political moment, connotes support for a particular political position. I think that compassion is a moral attribute, and that the church is simply trying to inject political debates with more of this Christ-like virtue. I think the most productive recourse for each of us is not to try and decide what the church wants us to do about immigration. The real key is to try and develop more individual compassion and let that compassion inform our opinions about such issues. I agree that too often Americans have let nativism, fear, and prejudice guide their personal assumptions about immigrants and these biases have been codified into law. Any political position that we take as members of the church should be informed by Christ-like attributes. I think this is all the church leaders are trying to say.

  77. Brad Kramer on February 26, 2008 at 2:49 pm

    It should also be remembered that President Hinckley’s great sermon admonishing against the evils of racial bigotry came smack in the middle of a time when the immigration debate was reaching its most ferocious crescendo. April Conference 2006 fell in between (just to cite a few examples) the following protests against hardline immigration reforms: 25 March — 750,000 in Chicago; 27 March — 50,000 in Detroit and 125,000 students in LA; 9 April — 350,000 in Dallas and 50,000 in San Diego; 10 April — 75,000 in Ft. Myers, 20,000 in Indianapolis, 100,000 in Phoenix, 75,000 in NYC, and 15,000 in SLC.

  78. Adam on February 26, 2008 at 3:12 pm

    Utah is in a tough position as they cannot fix the larger federal immigration problems (Utah cannot “secure the border” or make legal immigration more available) so they are playing hard-ball with the policies that they can control (education, enforcement of laws, id, employment laws, etc). The problem is that for Utah legislators to feel like they are accomplishing anything they end up swinging too far to one side and ultimately raise the ire of groups like the Church who call for compassion.

    Immigration is a federal issue and can and will only be solved at the federal level. Any real effort to fix it at the state level will be for naught.

  79. Russell Arben Fox on February 26, 2008 at 3:18 pm

    Frank, I just saw your response (#73) to my latest comment (#41) on the immigration thread. I genuinely didn’t mean to imply any self-interest about your remarks, only to observe (perhaps clumsily) that speaking generally about how certain economic transformations tend to “wash” other out probably isn’t the sort of thing one is likely to hear from those who have to suffer through the washing. My apologies for making that point a little rudely.

  80. James on February 26, 2008 at 3:23 pm

    In a way, I think that Mark 12:17 can sum up the conflict that many members have. “And Jesus answering said unto them, Render to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and to God the things that are God’s. And they marvelled at him.” The body of immigration law is clearly Caesar’s law. Perhaps that is one of the reasons that members of the church employed as law enforcement officers are no longer allows to serve in bishoprics or stake presidencies since they would have an affirmative to report people who are in violation of the law.

    The closest advice that I could find that deals with the conflict here was by Pres. Kimball when he wrote “Uphold and sustain the law, but work within the law to be an influence for good, as the Prophet Joseph Smith counseled us.” (New Era, Mar. 1981) A cursory search for the term “civil disobedience” in the gospel library doesn’t hold much hope for anyone who would favor that path for instigating change in the legal system. There is a strong leaning toward equating law-breaking with sin in the words of 20th Century church leaders. The direction that I am seeing that is acceptable is that we should obey the offending law in the short-term while working the political process to change what is broken.

    That doesn’t negate or contradict what has been said by Elder’s Jensen and Ballard. Yes, the people here without the blessing of the government are not in the best possible place with regard to obedience. (1 Samuel 15:22) But, there are a group that are in a far worse position, the people who employ them. Those people are more morally culpable because they incite others to break the law. Among those there are an even worse set, those who take advantage of their illegal employees and use and abuse them.

    Local and state law should not target individuals who are here in violation of federal law. Targeting those who exploit them is another matter all together and in conjunction with better physical security on all borders would do more to mitigate the illegal immigration problem until the Federal Legislature has the political will to revamp the process of how people are authorized to come here.

  81. Bob on February 26, 2008 at 3:29 pm

    #67 “…some good thoughts on this, please share. Just for you, I will.
    Most of the illegals in CA colleges are not Latino, but from the middle East and Asia. After getting their higher degrees from Cal, UCLA, Stanford, USC, they will return to their homes. Should California give all of them in state benefits?

  82. Adam on February 26, 2008 at 3:44 pm

    I believe USC and Stanford are private universities. If they can afford it, good for them.

  83. Mark B. on February 26, 2008 at 4:00 pm

    It is odd for the anti-immigrant cabal to suggest on the one hand that the lure of free public education draws undocumented Mexicans to the U.S. while on the other hand pointing to high drop out rates as evidence that Mexicans don’t assimilate and don’t value education the way real vaginally delivered Americans do.

    I suspect that the data (if there are any) would show that opportunity to work, to have a decent living, to provide a chance for children to grow up in decent circumstances are much more important factors driving immigration than the lure of free public education for children, drivers licenses or in-state tuition rates for college students. They would further show that all the money dumped into securing the border for the past 15 years have been an inutile precaucione, showing once again that Figaro was in fact wiser than his profession (take that, H.L. Mencken). Increased difficulty in crossing the border has reduced such crossings, but mainly in the southerly direction: working men are unwilling to expend the money or bear the risks of repeated border crossings, so they stay here, and then they get lonely and bring their families here.

  84. Mark B. on February 26, 2008 at 4:00 pm

    Bob: any data to back up that belief?

  85. Frank McIntyre on February 26, 2008 at 4:47 pm

    Thanks Russell. I’ll match your clumsiness with my own. I was not saying that the differences “wash out” in the sense that some lose and some gain. I was saying that on net there would be little effect on anybody because demand and supply both increase, and so cancel each other out to a large extent– if you see the difference.

  86. Mark D. on February 26, 2008 at 4:47 pm

    May I ask someone to suggest why it is a moral imperative to offer illegal immigrants in-state tuition rates that lawful permanent residents of other states do not qualify for?

    And if the Church is so concerned about the welfare of its law-disregarding membership, why doesn’t it offer to pay the difference? Or even, better provide scholarships for all members who want to pay in-state tuition rates, not just the scoflaws?

  87. Jason J on February 26, 2008 at 5:03 pm

    Mark D.

    I don’t think the Church is claiming that it is a “moral imperative.” Maybe the moral imperative is that we stop deriding people as “scofflaws” and worse as we seek to arrive at sensible solutions.

    I also don’t understand this analogy to “lawful” residents of other states that keeps cropping up. Residents of other states do not qualify for in-state tuition rates for the excellent reason that they do not live in-state. As much as people like to claim that illegals pay no taxes, they pour in the sales taxes and property taxes into the public funds that non-residents do not.

  88. Jason J on February 26, 2008 at 5:06 pm

    Tithing subsidizes BYU much like tax dollars subsidize education at state schools. I would imagine that the Church allows illegal immigrants to enroll at BYU just like anybody else. Does anybody know for sure if this is the case?

  89. annegb on February 26, 2008 at 5:22 pm

    “Thanks, old white guy.” See what happens when you put a quarter in gst?

  90. bbell on February 26, 2008 at 5:31 pm

    Mark B,

    You can make your state more “liveable” for an illegal immigrant. Offering DL’s and instate tuition is a magnet. We will see how it goes as AZ and OK crack down. I suspect that many illegals will leave states that pass new laws and move to more lenient states.

  91. Mark D. on February 26, 2008 at 5:32 pm

    Jason J,

    You don’t think “scofflaw” is a pretty mild term for individuals who commit multiple felonies to gain a temporary economic advantage?

  92. Jeremy on February 26, 2008 at 5:33 pm

    RE Mark B. in #83: …as evidence that Mexicans don’t assimilate and don’t value education the way real vaginally delivered Americans do.

    Utterly brilliant turn of phrase. I’m going to Cafe Press RIGHT NOW to make some T-shirts and bumper stickers. Soaring bald eagle and stars-n-stripes clip art in the background, “Proud to be a VAGINALLY DELIVERED AMERICAN” in the foreground.

    The makings of the chorus to a Lee Greenwood vehicle are also taking loose shape in my mind.

  93. Jeremy on February 26, 2008 at 5:35 pm

    Mark D.

    You don’t think “individuals who commit multiple felonies to gain a temporary economic advantage” is a pretty harsh term for a dad trying to feed his family?

  94. Raymond Takashi Swenson on February 26, 2008 at 5:44 pm

    As someone who was born in Japan of a Japanese mother, under the US immigration laws at the time (1949), I was classified as a citizen of Japan (my birthplace), while under Japanese law (still the case), I was considered and American since my Father was an American serviceman. (Japan is, I believe, the only remaining nation in the world that bases citizenship solely on citizenship of the father, thus classifying third and fourth generation Korean residents of Japan as Korean citizens.) The immigration law passed in 1923 had barred all new immigration from Japan, leading to emigration from Japan to be diverted into Brazil and Peru.

    My Dad had married my Mom while he was stationed in Japan with the Air Force. He was called as a missionary a few months before my birth, allowing him to return to Japan and be with her for a few months after my birth and during the last months before he completed his mission. During that time, Senator Elbert D. Thomas (D-UT), who had been a missionary in Japan, introduced a special bill naming my Mom and myself and allowing us to immigrate to the US. A few bills had been passed previously that opened short windows to let “war brides” from Japan immigrate, but they had expired. By the time our personal bill had passed both houses of Congress, a more general immigration bill covering spouses and children of Americans working overseas (including missionaries) was signed into law by Harry Truman. So I grew up in Utah largely through the quirks of immigration law.

    There is no question that the 1923 law was racist. Franklin Delano Roosevelt, then a former Secretary of the Navy, even wrote an article in support of the bill (Asia Magazine, May, 1923) in which he argued that the Japanese are not suited to live in America. In that context, his readiness to sign the order putting 100,000 Japanese, most of them US-born, into concentration camps during World War II is more understandable.

    The current immigration laws were not given to Moses on Sinai, they were enacted by Congress. The limits on legal immigration are statutory and are not designed to be responsive to the growth of the US economy or its changing nature, which offers anyone with a modicum of education a better job than most immigrants from Mexico can qualify for.

    The current situation, with unrealistically low ceilings on legal immigration, but lax enforcement, is the upshot of the nativist, and perhaps even racist, insistence of many Americans that the ceiling be kept low, and the economic demand for workers to fill jobs that most intelligent Americans could not stand to do for longer than a summer. The nativists get to insist that they are keeping a lid on immigration, while the business interests get the cheap workers they want. It has the same dimensions as the importation of booze during Prohibition, forcing demand into an illegal market and funding the criminal organizations that are willing to provide the contraband. At least Prohibition was directed at something that has inherent dangers, while the artificial barriers to legal immigration create the pathologies, including funding coyotes and letting in criminals along with the workers. The system allows workers to be exploited in all sorts of ways, and invites corruption of law enforcement members both local and Federal. Once someone is on this side of the border and working, it is in his own best interest to not let unlimited competition come across the border to underbid him and lower his wages.

    So a realistic and enforceable system would include immigration levels that are set yearly, in response to economic realities (much like the Federal Reserve adjusts the Fed interest rate), as well as real enforcement of the border, so that supply is pushed into the legal immigration system, where we can keep track of who comes in, ID them, and screen out criminals.

    Giving “amnesty” or some kind of conditional forgiveness to people already here and working honorably ought to be possible in a nation that says it believes in Jesus Christ and forgiveness of sinners. We aren’t going to be able to identify and capture the criminal immigrants if we insist on making every other illegal immigrant a criminal with him. General Petraeus has succeeded in the “surge” in Iraq because he persuaded the partisans to disassociate themselves from Al Qaeda and become part of the solution. It is the height of irony that we can forgive people who were killing our soldiers, but we can’t forgive those who make our hamburger, sort our potatoes and pick our cherries.

  95. kristine N on February 26, 2008 at 5:45 pm

    Mark D–I’ve been told by a Dean of the Graduate school at the U of U that in-state tuition breaks were given in the first place because it was expected people would settle in the same state they grew up in (which used to be largely true). The increase in their wages was expected to offset the tuition break roughly proportionally. People from out of state were expected to “return home” after graduation, taking the economic benefit of their higher wages with them, so they were expected to shoulder more of the costs of their education. It’s no longer true that people stay in the state in which they grew up, which is evidently one reason state legislatures are less and less keen about giving money to state universities to keep tuition costs down.

    I’ve really enjoyed this thread, I have to say.

  96. JWL on February 26, 2008 at 5:46 pm

    Re: # 51:

    3 Nephi 20:14-17:

    14 And the Father hath commanded me that I should give unto you this land, for your inheritance.
    15 And I say unto you, that if the Gentiles do not repent after the blessing which they shall receive, after they have scattered my people—
    16 Then shall ye, who are a remnant of the house of Jacob, go forth among them; and ye shall be in the midst of them who shall be many; and ye shall be among them as a lion among the beasts of the forest, and as a young lion among the flocks of sheep, who, if he goeth through both treadeth down and teareth in pieces, and none can deliver.
    17 Thy hand shall be lifted up upon thine adversaries, and all thine enemies shall be cut off.

    See also Mormon 5:20-24.

  97. maren on February 26, 2008 at 5:48 pm

    beautiful, 94. Thank you

  98. kristine N on February 26, 2008 at 5:51 pm

    Hey–you’re leaving all of us who were born by C-section out in the cold with that exclusionary claptrap of a t-shirt slogan!

  99. Jason J on February 26, 2008 at 6:10 pm

    Thanks for sharing, 94. I think that is just the human element the brethren have asked us to consider.

    And since you mentioned what God gave Moses on Mt. Sinai: Ex. 12: 49 – “One law shall be to him that is homeborn, and unto the stranger that sojourneth among you.”

    I know I mentioned it in the last thread on this topic, but I still think it’s at least of some interest that the Law of Moses apparently condemns our current immigration law.

  100. Mark D. on February 26, 2008 at 6:18 pm

    Jeremy (#93),

    For many, the easiest way to get additional income to feed their family is to avoid paying their income taxes. Should we have state subsidies for them too?

  101. Peter LLC on February 26, 2008 at 6:31 pm

    #94: Preach on, brother.

    #100: Of course, Mark. If they earn less than the standard deduction, then by all means.

  102. Mark IV on February 26, 2008 at 6:40 pm

    Mark D., 100,

    That is the wrong example to use. Since the tax is already withheld from their checks anyway, how can they avoid paying? If they don’t file a return, the treasury keeps their refund. In addition, most of them will never get the benefit of the FICA and medicare taxes that are also withheld. As Frank M. has claimed somewhere upthread, the federal government benefits from undocumented immigrants.

  103. Bob on February 26, 2008 at 6:57 pm

    #82: I remember the screams at USC and Stanford when Bush #1 was going to deport a large part of the student body who had let their visas run out, to Middle East counties not supporting Gulf War.

    #84: I am not sure what you want, but here is one: “For the fifth straight year, the University of Southern California led the United States in attracting international students, enrolling 6,881 in 2005-06.(Google). My son went both to CAL & a Post Grad. Fellowship at USC. He is married to an Asian.
    I think there is some confusion in thinking the Church took a Stand, or no Stand, on U.S. immigration. It seems to me, they are only addressing problems of Utah(?)

  104. Ray on February 26, 2008 at 6:57 pm

    #94 – Wonderful perspective, Raymond. Thanks.

  105. TMD on February 26, 2008 at 7:02 pm

    102: One might add that state and state governments do, as well (so long as they have income taxes). And are equally denied many of the benefits thereof, particularly if these kinds of emotionally driven legislation pass. Except for those paid under the table (in which case whom the bigger criminal and the greedier bastard is almost certainly a US citizen running a small business or farm, for evading a whole range of taxes and employment laws), illegals are almost certainly less able to avoid taxes (be they automatically deducted or automatically included, as in sales taxes) and less able to benefit from them.

    Also, there is very little evidence that the quality of benefits affects the state-to-state migration of illegal immigrants. Otherwise, there would be a lot more illegal mexican immigrants living in Providence, Boston, Minneapolis-St. Paul and Anchorage (don’t forget, Alaska residents actually get a royalties check from the state government; but I doubt there are many places to get some really good mole poblano in Nome or Juneau).

  106. Mark D. on February 26, 2008 at 7:13 pm

    Mark IV (#102),

    Independent contractors usually do not have taxes withheld – not even FICA. Tax avoidance for dishonest individuals so inclined is relatively simple. The tax compliance rate for the United States was estimated by the IRS to be 86% in 2001. In other words, ~14% of all the taxes that are due each year are not being paid.

    My point is why should individuals who forge documents and steal other persons identities to support their families be regarded as morally superior to those who disregard their legal obligation to pay some or all of their taxes in furtherance of the same end? Just a bunch of words on a piece of paper, right?

  107. Bob on February 26, 2008 at 7:40 pm
  108. Bob on February 26, 2008 at 7:42 pm

    #107: that’s try….but thy it if you wish.

  109. Jeremy on February 26, 2008 at 7:43 pm

    Mark D.,

    Because our economic apparatus and out legal apparatus with regards to immigrants our completely out of whack with each other, resulting in our simultaneously encouraging immigrants to come and then making it possible for them to do so only through underground means. Can you propose some similar paradox that encourages tax dodgers (and that makes your comparison symmetrical)?

  110. Jeremy on February 26, 2008 at 7:46 pm

    Raymond in #94: can I just make pass-along cards of your 5th paragraph to give to neighbors when this argument arises? It would save me a lot of talk.

    Very well put.

  111. we on February 26, 2008 at 7:51 pm

    #106 re taxes: Just another example of our government not funding adequate law enforcement. The IRS enforcement budget is underfunded just like the budget relative to immigration. Kind of like the border, huh? Furthermore, the statistics you cite apply across the board, not just to the group discussed in this thread. You have no way of knowing the undocumented workers didn’t file and pay taxes as independent contractors on Schedules C, do you? Nor the percentage of that 14% estimated as unpaid is attributable to undocumented workers.

    Context brother. If you and the family you were responsible for lived in conditions like hell and could escape by crossing a border to the telestial world, where the border was insufficiently controlled and immigration laws inadequately enforced, and such had been the case for decades, what would you think and do.

  112. we on February 26, 2008 at 8:00 pm

    #106 Oh, I forgot to mention that even if the workers are independent contractors the payor is required to file a 1099 with IRS and furnish it to the worker.

  113. legal immigrant on February 26, 2008 at 8:19 pm

    BYU does not (or should not) enroll illegal immigrants. The LDS Church does not employ illegal immigrants. The only exceptions would be if these entities were duped by falsified (fraudulent) government documents. In the same way that employers are required to review legal information presented by any potential employee, every accredited school must require and check for legal residency.

    I believe that illegal immigrants–poor as some may be–are poorest in matters of personal integrity. Being needy does not entitle ANYONE to steal what isn\’t theirs, be that the right to live and work and study in another country; the right to squat on another person\’s property; the right to sneak into a concert without paying.

    I have known illegal immigrants who–convicted by their consciences–willingly returned to their homelands, having overstayed visas and decided they were being dishonest when they lied on a work application, saying they were citizens when they were not, just so they could work. Sometimes the would-be immigrants were better off having returned home; many times they were worse off–financially speaking. In the arena of honesty and integrity, they have my respect.

    I am a legal immigrant who has had to wait for several years to undergo the process. Why should anyone from a border country have the right to sneak into the country and demand goods and services that are denied to legal immigrants while they are waiting for paperwork to be processed? Legal immigrants cannot claim in-state tuition, cannot claim welfare benefits, cannot access public health care before they are permanent residents, or in some cases, citizens.

  114. Ray on February 26, 2008 at 8:29 pm

    “If you and the family you were responsible for lived in conditions like hell and could escape by crossing a border to the telestial world, where the border was insufficiently controlled and immigration laws inadequately enforced, and such had been the case for decades, what would you think and do?”

    Brilliantly worded. One of the most dispiriting aspects of the harsh reactions is that, mathematically, some of those reacting that way almost had to have served missions among people in similar situations and should, therefore, approach the issue with compassion.

  115. Ray on February 26, 2008 at 8:38 pm

    #113 – I sympathize completely with what you wrote, and I agree in theory with most of it. I just have a hard time blaming and punishing those who are the cogs in the wheel when the wheel makers and merchants have profited from those cogs for years.

    In their shoes, I’m not convinced at all that I wouldn’t be doing the same thing – even if that makes me a thief and a liar in others’ eyes. If I had seen it happening among my fellow countrymen for decades without recrimination, I’m even less convinced I would not follow in their footsteps. This is not a perfect analogy, but escaping from slavery was against the law when slavery was legal. Should slaves have accepted that law and not tried to escape – and were those who escaped and then lied about it to remain free thieves and liars? Should they have felt a prick in their consciences and returned to their owners?

  116. legal immigrant on February 26, 2008 at 8:45 pm

    A question to all: What do you think, then, of people who sacrifice money, time, health, family togetherness, etc. and come (or stay, or return) to the US LEGALLY? Or leave the country when our visa (i.e. PERMISSION TO BE HERE) is expired? Or not come at all despite our hunger, envy, desire, need or greed? Are we simpletons? Dupes? Idiots? Not poor enough? Goody-goody two shoes? Do tell!

  117. Bob on February 26, 2008 at 8:55 pm

    ” Pew estimates the total illegal alien population of 12 million is made up of between 4.5 million and 6 million “overstayers” entering on some form of legal permission. (Google)

  118. maren on February 26, 2008 at 9:13 pm

    #116,
    My husband is one of those you describe who paid all the fees and came here the right way. He considers himself BLESSED, but also sees that many others have no legal way to get here. My husband has known starvation, fear, and illness, and he understands the desire to do ANYTHING in order to make a better life for his family. It just so happens that he had the skills needed (math teacher) to be recruited to the US, something many people would lie, cheat, steal, and even kill for.

  119. Ray on February 26, 2008 at 9:19 pm

    #116 – I think you and legal immigrants are none of the things you listed. Not one. I appreciate your diligence and honesty and dedication. Seriously. I admire the path you took more than the path illegal immigrants took.

    That doesn’t change the fact that I blame the government for the illegal immigrant situation, nor does it change that fact that I believe I might be in their shoes if I was in their shoes. Sometimes justice is the answer; sometimes mercy is the answer; always compassion is the answer – no matter the details of the final answer.

  120. Ardis Parshall on February 26, 2008 at 9:22 pm

    116: Well, you can sleep at night, and you don’t startle at every knock at the door, or panic when you hear a police siren. That’s got to be worth something.

  121. aloysiusmiller on February 26, 2008 at 9:44 pm

    We believe in honoring obeying and sustaining the law.

    Or do we?

  122. we on February 26, 2008 at 9:50 pm

    I believe the questions every citizen should ask is what did we do wrong in the past that created this problem so we can do better in the future. And what can we do now with the problem we have accepted and lived with so long in the past and must ultimately deal with? In asking these two questions, we must keep the guiding light of compassion in mind. Have we been compassionate? Will we be? I accept as a citizen some measure of responsibility for the problem. I haven’t done enough. I think these are the questions our leaders are asking us to contemplate and consider in going forward. I laud those that can make or have made the flawed system work for them. IMy heart goes out to those who haven’t been able to do the same.

  123. Raymond Takashi Swenson on February 26, 2008 at 10:25 pm

    Response to #110: Feel free to reproduce my comment. I have discussed this in an op ed column I wrote for the Idaho Falls newspaper as well as my own blog at coltakashi.livejournal.com.

    I can sympathize with the frustrations of “legal immigrant.” There is an old saying we learned at law school, that “justice delayed is justice denied.” Maintaining difficult, costly, and time-consuming barriers to legal immigration is precisely what tempts many people to undertake illegal immigration. By complying with the rules, despite their ridiculous burdensome nature, you did the United States the courtesy of not disrupting its fantasy that it has some control over de facto immigration, that it is not an emperor wearing invisible “clothing” to cover the naked stupidity and cupidity and self-deception of its immigration laws. Even so, the INS bureaucracy seems to take glee in harassing and abusing the people who cooperate in its fantasy by punishing them in extreme ways, such as forcing them to return to their home country to simply apply for a renewal of a visa, even as it often does almost nothing with people who are arrested illegally crossing the border.

    It bears a lot of resemblance to the way the State of California abuses licensed drivers over car insurance requirements, even though a large minority of drivers simply have no insurance at all. Those who have nothing to lose are considered “judgment proof”, so there is no financial incentive for government or lawyers to hassle them.

    I do not deny that there are adverse consequences for society from the illegal status of “undocumented aliens” and that is it unfair to those who endure the pain of legal immigration. But I don’t think that just inflicting pain on illegal immigrants is going to reduce the pain inflicted on you. The pain inflicted on you by the INS as a reward for trying to follow the rules is insane. A sane immigration system would make legal immigration as simple and attractive as possible to induce as many people as possible to avoid illegal entry, but the system we have treats everyone who wants to become a US resident as a presumptive criminal who has to prove his worthiness.

    I think one route for legal immigration should be enlistment in the US armed forces. They can do the background checks during the 90 days while the applicant undergoes basic training, before he gets his hands on any serious weaponry. African Americans proved they were worthy of citizenship by their service in the Union Army, and Japanese Americans proved the same thing by their service during World War II. If a young person, male or female, does not have a criminal record, and can make it through training, let him or her be a legal resident during the term of enlistment, and after, say, four years, let them apply for citizenship (earlier if seriously wounded or killed in combat). Hispanics actually have a long tradition of honorable and even heroic service in the US armed forces. Putting your life on the line for the United States and your fellow soldiers is a perfect test of worthiness for citizenship, and a great education in the meaning of American freedom. The normal benefits of training and formal education in all sorts of fields provided by the military can more than fulfill the dreams of many an aspiring immigrant.

  124. CraigH on February 26, 2008 at 10:49 pm

    Raymond Takashi Swenson is making great sense. Thank you very much for the effort, as it’s broadened my vision of things.

  125. veritas on February 26, 2008 at 11:02 pm

    Seeing as the Articles of Faith were pretty much a PR piece, its not surprising that it would include a bit about honoring the law and other religions to ease the common fears people had of mormons.

    At any rate, I’m sure Joseph didn’t intend for the 13 articles to replace the ten commandments. Somehow in recent years that one particular article of faiths seems to have become a favorite among American mormons, trumping all else. I wonder if members in Nazi Germany struggled with that one. Obviously, there are times when faith and the law are at odds.

  126. Bob on February 26, 2008 at 11:21 pm

    #123: I don’t know if you have been in the military, I have. (My bold words are going to sink me yet again). What you are talking about is a British “Hessian Army”, or French “foreign Legion”. Also, as our Army is now small, where does the uneducated America white or black kid go who now uses the Army as a was up in life? You will leave no room for them. Who is going to lead this army that speaks mostly Spanish? Please, this is not to speak ill of any possible answers, only to examine those ideas.

  127. Karen on February 26, 2008 at 11:27 pm

    small threadjack- #80 How new and how widespread is this prohibition that law enforcement officers not serve in bishoprics? Is it a Utah thing? A state by state legal issue? Does it matter what his exact job duties might be? It hasn’t been very long since I have seen several officers in bishoprics, both in Ohio and South Dakota. I know an FBI agent currently serving. I know bishops all over the US have a legal hotline to call to ask what the requirements are where they serve as to when things must be reported to authorities. Anyone know?

  128. Jason J on February 26, 2008 at 11:37 pm

    #126

    Why is everything a zero sums game to all the seal-the-border types? I could be wrong, but I don’t think the U.S. has a cap on military enlistment. I think the military might even be looking for a few good men while we’re still fighting a pretty unpopular war. I don’t think that allowing Hispanic immigrants in the military will steal any of the spots for willing white and black recruits.

  129. Mark D. on February 26, 2008 at 11:38 pm

    #111: Issuing 1099s is a rule honored primarily in the breach, unfortunately.

    I am making a comparison – tax evasion and identity theft are both federal crimes. Why doesn’t the moral imperative for the Church to dissociate, even excommunicate members who advocate tax evasion also apply to those members who advocate making a living by way of other felonious behavior?

    Is there any reason for the Church to endorse one particular criminal lifestyle over another, other than so many of its members apparently engage in it? How about compassion for polygamists, drug dealers, smugglers, and pornographers? Aren’t all four groups engaged in what are essentially “victimless” crimes? Should we endorse special subsidies for them?

  130. Ray on February 26, 2008 at 11:49 pm

    “Aren’t all four groups engaged in what are essentially “victimless” crimes?”

    Not a serious question, I hope.

  131. James on February 26, 2008 at 11:51 pm

    #121 – This is an important question, do we get to pick and choose which laws we can safely obey without putting our church worthiness and even membership at risk? I think that at the end of the day, the First Presidency is going to have to publicly enunciate a policy, personally and not through a surrogate from the Seventy, about the position of the Church regarding immigration status in the U.S. and any relation to worthiness for church blessings.

    #116 – That makes you an honorable person, probably better than most of humanity. You obeyed the rules when others don’t.

    There are clearly two schools of thought, that moving to the United States is a right that anyone should be able to exercise and that moving to the United States is a privileged act that should be held dear and allowed only to those who can bring significant benefits to the nation. One can make doctrinal arguments each way but the fact remains that the law is what it is and the teachings of the brethren in the last century don’t support civil disobedience. They support obeying the law while working the system to get the law changed.

  132. James on February 27, 2008 at 12:03 am

    #126 – Bob, this has some history of enlisting immigrants in the military. http://armed-services.senate.gov/statemnt/2006/July/Chu%2007-10-06.pdf

  133. Bob on February 27, 2008 at 12:06 am

    # 128: I am not a ‘Seal the border type’.
    Until a few years ago, you could not get into the Army without speaking English or having a high school diploma. There is a cap on the size of our army.
    We are not taking about a few good men, we are talking about hundreds of thousands of illegal young men, fighting and dieing in the place of American boys, instead of just cutting our grass.

  134. Mark D. on February 27, 2008 at 12:11 am

    130: The Church is doing a very effective job of appearing to endorse an illegal lifestyle right now.

    That seems like entirely the wrong way to go about it. If the Church feels that it is morally imperative for there to be greater numbers of legal immigrants and supports changing the law to that effect, that is fine. Or perhaps to grant amnesty to all the illegal aliens who are here now. Fine too.

    On the contrary, they have drawn the line in the sand on the issue of giving illegal aliens preferred treatment at public universities. That seems unusually ill-advised to me. If you do not like the law, work to get it changed. Endorsing violating the law as brazenly as possible is bad citizenship, to put it mildly.

  135. Bob on February 27, 2008 at 12:16 am

    #132 I read it . It said you must be a legal immigrant.

  136. Ray on February 27, 2008 at 12:21 am

    #134 – How does this address #130?

  137. Adam Greenwood on February 27, 2008 at 12:24 am

    Legal Immigrant,
    thanks for your perspective. I hope you are treated with respect and dignity here, and honored for your sacrifices to keep the law.

  138. Mark D. on February 27, 2008 at 12:43 am

    #136: The challenge is to construct a morally reasoned argument for subsidizing one illegal lifestyle that does not also apply to subsidies for other illegal lifestyles. Why endorse identity theft and not polygamy? On what moral basis can we condemn one and not the other?

    And on what rational theory of church state relations can a church endorse the ordinary course violation of the law? If endorsing special subsidies for a criminal lifestyle isn’t an endorsement of violating the law, what is? Is it rational for any religious denomination to expect continued protection from the state while acting to subvert it?

  139. Ray on February 27, 2008 at 12:50 am

    #138 – How does this address #130?

  140. Mark D. on February 27, 2008 at 12:58 am

    Ray, I am not prepared to engage in a threadjack on the nature of so-called victimless crimes unless you drop the broken record routine.

  141. we on February 27, 2008 at 1:00 am

    129.: Issuing 1099s is a rule honored primarily in the breach, unfortunately.
    And your evidence for this is?

    Furthermore, those who don’t issue 1099s (i.e. payors) aren’t charged with tax evasion for not doing so. Rather, there is a small penalty for not issuing a copy to the payee and to the IRS. So either you are mixed up or have mixed me up. There are several things wrong with your idea. First, there are very few criminal tax evasion and fraud cases tried, and even fewer convictions. At ustaxcourt.com you or the Church could find whatever is out there. But I doubt you’ll want to spend the time or if you do that you’ll find any cases relative to payors or payees involving 1099s. And otherwise, unless someone tells you or the Church, you won’t know. The government can’t tell you.

    Anyway . . . I don’t think the Church has advocated for anyone to break the law. What it is saying is that lawmakers acting now should have compassion, etc. As I said before, that means having a deep awareness of the suffering of others along with a desire to relieve it. Citizens created the problem, not the undocumented immigrants. The laws of our nation lacked and lack basic human compassion and were unenforced and are unenforced. And not just immigration laws. You brought it up: tax laws aren’t enforced. We created the problem and now it’s ours as citizens to deal with . . . compassionately.

    Raymond made some suggestions and so have others. Proposals have been put forth at the federal level but our elected officials, whether local or on the national level have not had the fortitude to act or have acted without compassion. And the Church has simply said when you act, act with a deep awareness of the suffering of others and a desire to relieve it.

    So what’s your proposal? Do you reject the notion that the law should be grounded in compassion?

  142. we on February 27, 2008 at 1:05 am

    Correction: You might have to visit the US District Courts as well as the Tax Court to find out.

  143. Ray on February 27, 2008 at 1:08 am

    Mark, it’s not a broken record. I sincerely want to know. You said, “How about compassion for polygamists, drug dealers, smugglers, and pornographers? Aren’t all four groups engaged in what are essentially “victimless” crimes?” I didn’t think you meant that, but I wasn’t sure, so I said, “Not a serious question, I hope.”

    It appeared that you were saying that illegal immigration is just like polygamy, drug dealing, smuggling and pornography. Whether your “victimless crime” question was facetious or not wasn’t totally clear. I thought it was facetious, but I didn’t know; hence, my comment, “Not a serious question, I hope.”

    You cited my comment, but didn’t address its content – so I asked how it related. I honestly don’t see how it related. You cited my comment again, but again didn’t address its content – so I asked again how it related. I am completely serious; I want to know, in the context of this thread, what you meant by, “”How about compassion for polygamists, drug dealers, smugglers, and pornographers? Aren’t all four groups engaged in what are essentially “victimless” crimes?”

  144. Wilfried on February 27, 2008 at 1:08 am

    I was only able now to read the post and the whole thread and I have been impressed with the quality and tone of the debate. Refreshing, mind-opening, and deeply moving — compared to many hateful and insensitive comments on this issue in the papers these past few weeks.

    Thank you especially, Raymond Takashi Swenson, for your contributions here. To remember:

    Giving “amnesty” or some kind of conditional forgiveness to people already here and working honorably ought to be possible in a nation that says it believes in Jesus Christ and forgiveness of sinners. We aren’t going to be able to identify and capture the criminal immigrants if we insist on making every other illegal immigrant a criminal with him. General Petraeus has succeeded in the “surge” in Iraq because he persuaded the partisans to disassociate themselves from Al Qaeda and become part of the solution. It is the height of irony that we can forgive people who were killing our soldiers, but we can’t forgive those who make our hamburger, sort our potatoes and pick our cherries.

  145. Mark D. on February 27, 2008 at 1:35 am

    we (#141),

    In my experience as an independent contractor I receive 1099s from small (

  146. Jeremy on February 27, 2008 at 1:48 am

    I think I have a better way of making the (clumsy, in my opinion) comparison between tax evasion and illegal immigration a little more symmetrical.

    Rather than just equating sympathy for illegal immigration with sympathy for tax cheats, let’s say that there was a clause in the tax code that was so flawed that no one bothered to obey it, and no one bothered to enforce it. And it became common, widespread practice to ignore it because IRS auditors, accountants, everybody knew that the way the code was written made it too burdensome to bother with–that obedience to it robbed resources and attention from more important social and legal concerns. It just didn’t make any sense to observe it.

    And then someone came along and insisted that, in the spirit of the 12th Article of Faith, everyone who transgressed this law would be convicted of a felony.

  147. Mark D. on February 27, 2008 at 1:50 am

    My comment got cut off somehow. Suffice it to say that I rarely receive 1099s from those who are obligated to send them to me, and can easily comprehend the IRS’ estimate that only 86% tax compliance.

    I reject non-enforcement as a legitimate defense to the violation of any law and feel that the principle of compassion should weight soft enforcement measures (improved border security, electronic eligibility verification) above hard ones (raids, deportation).

    I don’t think the U.S. can take an unlimited number of immigrants, for fiscal reasons if nothing else – each low skill household (legal or otherwise) has a net fiscal deficit of ~$20K/year – that is after accounting for all taxes paid.

  148. Adam Greenwood on February 27, 2008 at 1:51 am

    RTS,
    it isn’t a question of forgiveness, and if you think that’s what’s involved in the amnesty debate you’ve been cocooning. The question is whether an amnesty will encourage further illegal immigration, as did the 1986 comprehensive reform that included an amnesty. Its really not ironic that we would forgive our enemies if it gets them to lay down their arms but wouldn’t forgive lawbreaking if it only encourages more of it.

  149. Mark D. on February 27, 2008 at 1:55 am

    Jeremy,

    The difference is that illegal aliens are convicted of identity theft and related federal crimes, serve time in federal prisons, and are deported to their home countries on a regular basis. It makes the front page news here in Utah about once a year.

  150. Bob on February 27, 2008 at 2:21 am

    #148: One personal thought from a long life lived among Latinos. I am not sure amnesty did not slow illegal immigration into southern California. Most legal (after amnesty) Latinos in my area, did not want more illegals coming after their jobs either. I THINK (no facts), the illegals were told to by them, “Go East young man”.

  151. Mark D. on February 27, 2008 at 2:29 am

    Ray (#143),

    I put victimless in quotes because I was making a facetious comparison with other activities that libertarians tend to want completely legalized – namely polygamy, drug dealing, pornography, and (for good measure) smuggling.

    It has been suggested from time to time that illegal immigration is a victimless crime. I beleve that idea can only be sustained on the same diluted hyper-libertarian sense of “victimless” that polygamy, drug dealing, pornography, and smuggling can be.

    But more to the point, why should we extend compassion to a greater degree to illegal aliens than to polygamists, drug dealers, and so on? If you conducted a fair poll, I imagine you could easily get 20% support for the decriminalization of each. What makes a life of forgery and false pretenses so morally ennobling that it deserves particular consideration?

  152. Ray on February 27, 2008 at 2:41 am

    That’s what I thought you meant, Mark. Thanks.

  153. Peter LLC on February 27, 2008 at 3:41 am

    ut more to the point, why should we extend compassion to a greater degree to illegal aliens than to polygamists, drug dealers, and so on?

    Because they are generally nice, hard-working people who want to improve their lives within the existing framework of US law (except the immigration part, which is basically a piece of paper stapled into a passport by some junior foreign service officer on her probationary first assignment to some god-forsaken dusty city in the outback. See Raymond’s posts for more on the arbitrary nature of US immigration law).

    My question is, why do you insist on lumping illegal immigrants in with drug dealers, etc.?

  154. aloysiusmiller on February 27, 2008 at 9:39 am

    An illegal isn’t just illegal because he crossed the border. Most of the time they also have created fraudulent documents, practiced tax evasion, and very frequently they have failed to acknowledge and pay debts. In some cases they are also involved in identity theft. These are hard working criminals but ya gotta do what ya gotta do.

    How would it be if we preached such necessity and expediency from the pulpit? Let’s not worry about what we teach from the pulpit if we teach it by omission.

    Let’s not forget that teaching willful disobedience to legitimate authority has an insidious effect on discipline in the church. “Render unto Caeser” is a very significant and meaningful statement. The only way to properly resist the state is to declare its authority illegitimate. Otherwise we work within the mechanisms of the state to change its laws.

  155. Jason J on February 27, 2008 at 10:03 am

    Mark D.

    I think your question is easily answered by the malum in se vs. malum prohibitum distinction that Adam G. discussed above (see #11). Drug dealing, pornography, and polygamy are at least arguably malum in se. They are bad acts regardless of what the law says. In contrast, there is absolutely nothing inherently wrong with moving from one part of the earth to another part of the earth. It is only a wrong act because it is illegal. National borders were not etched into the earth by the hand of God. They are, however valuable, arbitrary. And, more to the point, how long somebody should wait before they come here is arbitrary.

    So the question is, should we deny tuition benefits to people who speed, roll through stop signs, run yellow lights, rent out their basements in violation of zoning ordinances, or bring Wyoming fireworks to their ward 4th of July party in Utah? These types of laws are not entirely useless just because they are essentially arbitrary. Malum in se laws are essential to a properly functioning society. But if they become totally unworkable and unenforceable and to a great extent counterproductive, the only rational solution is to change them.

  156. Ardis Parshall on February 27, 2008 at 10:23 am

    Most of the time they also have created fraudulent documents, practiced tax evasion, and very frequently they have failed to acknowledge and pay debts

    “Most of the time?” You know this how — from those comprehensive surveys and university funded studies that have proven your statement conclusively, or from your gut assumption based on limited anecdotal evidence?

    Since I’m purdy durn sure it’s the latter, here’s another bit of anecdotal evidence: The only illegal alien I know well enough to know her story is a young woman who came here on a visitor’s visa to marry the missionary who swore before God and angels that he would love and cherish and support this young woman not just through time but for all eternity. Within a few months of their marriage he decided he didn’t want to be married anymore, that video games and porn were a lot more fun than adult responsibility, and that slapping his wife around was a good way to release the frustration of being married. Within a few weeks of her divorce, her visa ran out and she discovered she was pregnant. With a better support and healthcare system here than there, she stayed — no fraudulent documents, no failure to pay debts, no tax evasion (to the contrary, she uses her expired number on work applications for low-paid high turnover work, then always quits after the week or two grace period that often exists between getting a job and being pressured by your boss to bring in your documents for verification — so after having taxes withheld from every paycheck, she has been unable to file a tax return). She has also spent more than a year trying to get legal. Her ex-husband, that fine upstanding American citizen and returned missionary, pays no child support, of course, and she can’t seek legal help with that for fear that he will then stir off his lazy wife-beating porn-loving butt to take her baby and encourage her deportation.

    More sinned against than sinning, I’d say.

  157. Bob on February 27, 2008 at 11:10 am

    #156: Whatever we do, we are likely to make an error. But when we can see what’s fair or noble, let’s error on the side of kindness….give the lady her Legal Status.

  158. Mark IV on February 27, 2008 at 11:25 am

    Mark D.

    Suffice it to say that I rarely receive 1099s from those who are obligated to send them to me

    Failure to send out 1099s is a federal crime. I trust that you have reported the malefactors and insisted that they be deported. And if you haven’t reported them, aren’t you complicit in their crime?

  159. aloysiusmiller on February 27, 2008 at 11:37 am

    156 Yes most of the time. How do they give an employer a valid SSN? If they don’t give an SSN they are in a tax evasive position and if they do they (almost all the time) didn’t get it legally. That is fraud.

    Your anecdote is truly sad. When this poor lady availed herself of American health care did she pay for it? Or did she let someone else pay for it? There are many people who patiently follow the legal process before they marry. Her impatience is part of her problem. It is truly sad but it is still her problem.

    I am willing to bet that most the regulars here who post sympathetically to illegal aliens have a significant measure of ambivalence about the authority of priesthood leaders including the apostles. The archive is available to test this proposition.

  160. Ardis Parshall on February 27, 2008 at 11:55 am

    Hey, aloysius, you might actually read my comment, or you might actually need to learn that SSNs aren’t the only numbers used for employment. Using the expired number on the work visa doesn’t involve identity theft or stolen documents, as you insist. Her medical care was not paid for by American taxes. She patiently followed the legal process before she married — and was deceived and discarded by her American husband after all of that.

    But you are undoubtedly right about the faithfulness of all T&S commenters who post sympathetically to at least one illegal alien. I, for one, am noted as being a flaming apostate with no regard whatsoever for apostolic authority. Yeah, that’s me. I invite you to test this proposition yourself by a careful examination of the archives. Please report publicly.

  161. Frank McIntyre on February 27, 2008 at 11:57 am

    FYI: Tax evasion overall is estimated at 14%. Among self employed workers it is about 50%. Among farmers (and I report it because it is such a delightful number) it is about 75%. Since illegal immigrants are a) illegal and b) often working with small, self employed contractors and c) often working with farmers it is pretty much assured that illegal immigrants evade a fair bit of taxes. On the other hand, they collect so little from the feds that a recent paper claimed they were still a net gain to the Federal Treasury. They are, on the other hand, a drag on state and local budgets, as they do use those services. Of course, poor people are almost always a drain on government budgets when the tax and spending policy is set to be progressive. That is the point of redistribution.

  162. kristine N on February 27, 2008 at 12:04 pm

    Nice, aloysiusmiller. So basically you’re saying: if you disagree with me, you must disagree with your priesthood leaders, too. Let’s see, wasn’t it our priesthood leaders who asked us to be compassionate, which is, um, not at all what you’re advocating? Which group is “ambivalent about the authority of priesthood leaders including the apostles?” Wasn’t it an apostle asking us to step back and remember the humanity of the people whose lives we’re considering tearing apart?

  163. CraigH on February 27, 2008 at 12:06 pm

    159 is just guessing that those sympathetic to illegal aliens “have a significant measure of ambivalence” about the “authority of priesthood leaders.” That’s possible, but pretty tough to prove. Better to stick with clear evidence, such as that those who oppose in-state tuition benefits for undocumented immigrants are also opposed to the vote cast by Elder Ballard, in favor of such benefits. We could go back and forth like this all day on who supports priesthood leaders, or what is legal and illegal. Why not just focus on how good the law is, and how people are treated, and presenting good data? It’s such a politicized issue now that I fear no evidence or reason will change anyone’s mind, as people are already wedded to their position, and can see things only through that position. I’m weary of the exchanges.

  164. Ray on February 27, 2008 at 12:18 pm

    We don’t believe what we see; we see what we believe. This overall issue proves that in spades.

  165. Jeremy on February 27, 2008 at 12:19 pm

    Goodness, Alosyius. How can “those sympathetic to illegal aliens” have a “significant measure of ambivalence” about the “authority of priesthood leaders” when this whole thread started in response to statements by priesthood leaders specifically encouraging us to be sympathetic to illegal aliens?

    (P.S.: Gayle Ruzicka is not a priesthood leader.)

  166. Mark IV on February 27, 2008 at 12:19 pm

    I am willing to bet that most the regulars here who post sympathetically to illegal aliens have a significant measure of ambivalence about the authority of priesthood leaders

    Beautiful, aloysiusmiller, simply beautiful. This is why I love LDS blogs.

    Ardis, is there room on your pew there at the Church of the Flaming Apostate for me, too?

  167. annegb on February 27, 2008 at 12:42 pm

    #132, how does #145′s comment resonate with comment #146? Do you feel that #134, 130 & 128 reflect the general feeling of most of the population of blog #98210 or could we just #12 A it?

  168. Dave Banack on February 27, 2008 at 12:48 pm

    Thanks for the fine comments, everyone. I’m sure this won’t be the last post on this topic.

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