Saturday, March 16, 2013

Uchtdorf-Obama: Winning Ticket on Immigration

I've been checking the White House website daily to see if they would publish a photo of President Uchtdorf, Second Counselor in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints First Presidency, meeting with President Obama. Finally, one came out in the Church News today.

White House Photo by Pete Souza (Public Domain)
It's great that our People's White House freely shares its photos into the public domain, but this is the first one I've seen released on the meeting with religious leaders on Immigration Reform. It would appear that the LDS Church or at least the Church News had some opportunity to select this particular photo as it appears that President Uchtdorf is dominating the room at this moment with the President in rapt attention. Go, Dieter!! (I guess I should give a more respectful, "Congratulations, President Uchtdorf.")

Here's President Uchtdor's message as reported by the Church News:
"President Obama was very warm and welcoming, listening to and making reference to every comment. He was responsive to what everyone said"
. . . . "It has to be an enforceable law, but it has to have a lot of compassion, love for neighbor, family unification and common sense."
. . . . "I came to the United States on visitor's and work visas and lived here on a green card for a long time," he said. "Then I went through the naturalization process. Early in my life, I was twice a refugee. I can relate to what is happening."
. . . .  "[The LDS] of all people, should be cognizant of issues surrounding immigration. Look at our history, look at the pioneers who came here. It was not too long ago.
. . . . "The strength of the United States for all the nations around the world was always to be a melting pot where everyone can come together and then be an American."
. . . . "Breaking up families who have lived in the nation for generations as law-abiding, productive and helpful neighbors does not seem right."
. . . . "[These Hispanic Immigrants] almost invited to come here to clean homes, work in the yards, do the construction work, harvest fruits and vegetables and do other work." Most have been good neighbors, worked hard, lived responsibly and raised families; some are grandparents, he noted. Now, he said, because of a change in partisan perception of immigration, many who were welcomed long ago are now being deported, causing their families to be divided. "To tell them, 'Your children can stay but you must go,' is not the way we see compassion or love for our neighbor." [emphasis added.]
He made reference to the Utah Compact (which includes yours truly as one of its signers) and the article went on to quote from the Church's statement on the Compact:
"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 full statement may be found at
Further, the statement declares this issue is one that must ultimately be resolved by the federal government.
"In furtherance of needed immigration reform in the United States," the statement continues, "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."
Immigration reform needs to be established by the legislative process, President Uchtdorf said. "As a Church, we do not tell anyone how to vote. We are totally politically neutral, but we stand up for the values we have. We supported the Utah Compact with its values and principles; we have done this publicly and in writing, so everyone knows that. We hope that our view of these important matters for our communities will, at least, be considered by those who have to make the final decisions."
In other words, to the Utah State Legislature, Utah Delegation to Congress, and Utah Tea Party Activists, and many general conservatives: "Stop it!"

If you want to read President Obama's position on immigration reform and this meeting with religious leaders, you can check it out here. Para leer en español, imprime aqui.

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