On 10 June 2011, the LDS Church released an official statement on immigration that calls for Latter-day Saints and others to honor families and treat each other, foremost, as children of God while at the same time calling for the federal government to provide strong border security and discouraging its own members from entering any country illegally. It also expresses strong concern for the nearly twelve million people who are already in the United States illegally, urging lawmakers and citizens to strive to keep families together and work toward these people being able to “square themselves with the law and continue to work without this necessarily leading to citizenship.”
Official statements call for robust discussion, and this episode tries to provide just that through engaging not only the statement but also the human face of this issue and marriage of religion and politics that is often so prevalent in policy debates related to this issue. And it even ends with the episode’s panelists—Brent Beal, a business professor in Texas who for many years has served in LDS branches containing many undocumented church members, Ben Daniel, a Presbyterian minister in northern California who likewise ministers to many people here illegally and who recently wrote a book, Neighbor: Christian Encounters with “Illegal” Immigration, and Mark Alvarez, a Salt Lake City attorney, radio host, and advocate for smart immigration reform—sharing their ideas for better discussions and improved policies.
After listening, we hope you will share your ideas in the discussion below! We also extend a special invitation to contribute to the disccuion to those who advocate positions that differ from those of the panelists. If you favor a hardline approach to illegal immigration, support enforcement-only legislative approaches increased deportations, etc., we would love to engage with you, especially on the intersection between your political positions with your religious views.
HOST’S NOTE: In the months, weeks, and days leading up this Mormon Matters episode, I was blessed to be able to speak with many people about the immigration issue and various different framings for this podcast discussion, as well as possible panelists. All were gracious with their time, all made great suggestions, AND THEN I FORGOT TO THANK THEM DURING THE EPISODE! I know it’s not as fun to be mentioned only here, and I’m very sorry, but thank you, thank you Jason Echols, Ryan Cragun, David Knowlton, David King Landreth, Jana Riess, and Joanna Brooks!