Natty Shafer Law

Utah lawyer for criminal and immigration cases

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Mormons’ Views on Immigration Less Friendly Than Their Church’s

You wouldn’t know it from hearing Mormon politicians discuss their views on immigration, but their church, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, has a fairly pro-immigration stance. Mitt Romney, during a January Republican presidential candidate debate, said he favors “self-deportation,” which he described as making it difficult for undocumented aliens to find work, so they return home. Russell Pearce, also a member, was one of the sponsors and main advocates of Arizona’s strong immigration law. (Pearce has since been voted out of office through Arizona’s recall election procedures.) Jason Chaffetz, Utah’s U.S. Representative for the 3rd congressional district, has also been a vocal opponent of immigration.

The LDS Church, which includes a large number of immigrants among its members, has a friendlier stance. When Utah was passing its own immigration law last year, church officials decided to endorse the bill, after they ensured that the bill included “guest worker” permits to allow undocumented aliens with jobs to stay in the United States. The LDS Church also released a number of explicit statements in favor of allowing some undocumented workers to stay.

So why the dichotomy between official church position and some of its most prominent politicians? Any thoughts would be appreciated.