I am highly opinionated about politics; I sometimes avoid discussing political issues in public-type forums for that reason. Many people I respect in other matters have completely opposite views from me, so I don't want to create conflict. However, I can't resist expressing my delight with this "official statement" about immigration from the LDS church (my emphasis added):
Around the world, debate on the immigration question has become intense. That is especially so in the United States. Most Americans agree that the federal government of the United States should secure its borders and sharply reduce or eliminate the flow of undocumented immigrants. Unchecked and unregulated, such a flow may destabilize society and ultimately become unsustainable.
As a matter of policy, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints discourages its members from entering any country without legal documentation, and from deliberately overstaying legal travel visas.
What to do with the estimated 12 million undocumented immigrants now residing in various states within the United States is the biggest challenge in the immigration debate. The bedrock moral issue for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is how we treat each other as children of God.
The history of mass expulsion or mistreatment of individuals or families is cause for concern especially where race, culture, or religion are involved. This should give pause to any policy that contemplates targeting any one group, particularly if that group comes mostly from one heritage.
As those on all sides of the immigration debate in the United States have noted, this issue is one that must ultimately be resolved by the federal government.
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is concerned that any state legislation that only contains enforcement provisions is likely to fall short of the high moral standard of treating each other as children of God.
The Church supports an approach where undocumented immigrants are allowed to square themselves with the law and continue to work without this necessarily leading to citizenship.
In furtherance of needed immigration reform in the United States, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints supports a balanced and civil approach to a challenging problem, fully consistent with its tradition of compassion, its reverence for family, and its commitment to law.
I think this statement is so appropriate in light of the callous remarks and attitudes that I have seen and heard expressed by so many in my community/social circle. For example, many people express pure OUTRAGE that some small portion of their tax dollars might go to providing education, health care, or basic life necessities to... gasp... ILLEGAL IMMIGRANTS! Yet, many of these same people believe in a gospel that states the second most important commandment is to love thy neighbor as thyself. Could it be possible that even illegal immigrants might qualify as one's "neighbor" using Christ's definition? Didn't Jesus say, "Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me." Could the least of these also be illegal immigrants?
I'm not saying that I necessarily support illegal immigration. Rather, I am opposed to the entitled attitude of American citizens who think that just because they happened to be born in this country, or their great-great-great-grandparents "immigrated legally," that their family deserves to have a good quality of life while billions of people in this world do not.
Throughout history, societies in crisis have looked for scapegoats for their problems (e.g. Jews after WWI). Clearly, the United States is in the midst of a financial crisis, and many people would like to assign blame for this outside of themselves and to the "other"--namely, Hispanics. Partially because the idea of subsidizing the other's lifestyle (charity?) enrages them, but also, I believe, partially because of fear of anyone who is different from themselves. Thus, the push for "English only" laws, etc. This blind hatred is the antithesis of the values that should be espoused in our beautiful country.
"Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door!"