Illegal Immigration and the Fulfillment of Book of Mormon Prophecy – Part II

I previously wrote an article for LDS Liberty about the problems of illegal immigration and a scriptural examination of the principles involved. I am gratified that it has been a highly popular article on the site. I have enjoyed reading the comments that have streamed in since that time and I am amazed at the diversity of opinions. The article has been a sort of two-edged sword that reveals the positions of two camps of latter-day saints.

One group is a Pharisee-like contingent that is devoted to strict interpretations of civil laws, asserting the scriptural admonitions that those who follow God’s laws have no need to break the laws of the land (Doctrine and Covenants 58:21). The other side leans toward a more humanitarian position that esteems human needs outweigh the enforcement of nation-state boundaries. This side considers the blind acceptance of oppressive or unjust laws a kind of “corban” that relieves the saint from rendering charitable works towards another. The LDS Bible Dictionary describes “corban” in these terms:

Corban = given to God. The word describes anything dedicated to God, and therefore not available for ordinary uses. The utterance of it was held to constitute a binding vow, and the fulfillment of a vow was regarded by the Pharisees as of deeper obligation than the duty even to parents. See Matt. 15:5 and Mark 7:11, where it appears that the Pharisees misused the opportunity of dedicating their material possessions to God, in order to avoid responsibility to care for their parents.

In other words, slavish devotion by latter-day saints to maintaining America’s unjust immigration policies might well be considered a cop-out to our duties to aid and assist the unfortunate immigrants who come to America to seek a better life. Are we using devotion to law and order to excuse ourselves from living a higher law? In that case, are we using outrage against infractions of a civil law to “cover our sins” or “exercise control or dominion or compulsion” over others? (D&C 121:37) Some of the comments that have been expressed about the article are downright racist in nature, and bespeak a barely suppressed intolerance of people who have a different language and culture. If we’re going to use something to “cover our sins,” let us use charity, as Peter exhorted (1 Peter 4:8).

I wrote the article and it was published shortly before the emergence of the Utah Compact, which was endorsed by the Church in November 2010. I was gratified to find that my positions were consonant with those expressed in that document. I also found it somewhat disconcerting that so many members found themselves at odds with the Church’s endorsement. It places them on perilous ground, in positions about which Elder Ezra Taft Benson warned in his “Fourteen Fundamentals in Following the Prophet.”

One of the major thrusts of apostasy that took place in the primitive Church was the insistence by Jewish converts that Gentile converts adopt Jewish customs and practices along with the ordinances and covenants of the gospel. The apostles struggled mightily to deflect this and preserve unity in the faith while Satan tried to get the first century saints to back-step into practices which “which neither our fathers nor [the disciples] we were able to bear?” (Acts 15:10) In dealing with the challenges of immigration reform and the ever-expanding borders of Zion, are some of us requiring LDS immigrants to become Americans as a prerequisite to our acceptance of them as saints?

Immigration reform is an issue that is close to my heart. In the past year, I began teaching in a school where the student population is 98 percent Hispanic. They actually don’t like the term “Hispanic” that shows up on all the demographics. They like the term Mexican. Most of these students were born here in America. Most of their parents are very likely undocumented workers. I have several students whose families have weathered the trial of having their father deported back to Mexico for immigration violations. Dividing families in this manner is cruel and unwarranted, provided that the only crime committed by the individual is being undocumented. A couple of my students have parents that are incarcerated and are awaiting deportation in the near future. I cannot begin to express the heartache this causes for these children who are American citizens by birth. It distracts them from their schoolwork. It places their families in poverty—because the breadwinners in these families were workers, not living off the government dole. It fosters resentment toward civil authority.

Some might say, “Send the whole family back to Mexico then!” The problem is that these children are Americans. Although some Spanish appears from time to time in their conversations, English has become their primary language. They consider themselves Americans. If given the chance to serve in our military, they would do so proudly. Some of them would even like to pursue careers in law enforcement, because they regard protecting others as a noble thing.

Consider that these people come to America for economic opportunity and also for peace. Many of them left communities where drug cartels and criminal enterprises threatened their families’ security. How ironic that, in their flight from a growing criminal influence, they get turned into “illegals” here and accused of being criminal lawbreakers. Our policies make them criminals for fleeing from criminals. By marginalizing them and isolating them, the criminals are able to insinuate themselves among them and exploit the failed “morality” of our policy. If we make them Americans, we can truly liberate them from the terrors the fled in their home country.

These families show surprising resilience and ingenuity at surviving in difficult conditions. It is not uncommon to find aunts, uncles, cousins, and grandparents living in their homes with them. They take each other in and honor the bonds of family, even to the sacrificing of their comforts and material goods. They exemplify self-reliance because they have no one else to rely upon.

It’s easy to be a hardliner on immigration when one doesn’t know any undocumented people. When you get to know them as people and friends—when you put a face on the problem—suddenly it looks somewhat different. When I was a branch president in a small, rural area, we had several members who were undocumented immigrants. They were always the most faithful tithe-payers in the branch, even though they weren’t the most affluent by any means. One of them was our elders’ quorum president. He worked here in America so he could send money home to take care of his son and his ailing wife.

I discovered that this righteous priesthood holder had not yet had the opportunity to go to the temple for his endowments. I interviewed him and found him worthy to go. I arranged for him to attend temple preparation classes. He got his recommend signed by the stake president. There were a lot of obstacles. When he called the Washington Temple, he had trouble communicating with the operators and receptionists. His English was good, but heavily accented. He lacked confidence. (I recall how difficult it was on my mission in France to talk to people on the telephone in French.) The man called the temple and, instead of a person, he got a voice-mail prompt that asked him what department he wanted and the terms confused him. There were no Spanish options for the voice prompts on the system at the time. He hung up, confused and disappointed. He was also a little nervous about traveling four hours to the Washington Temple, concerned about the danger of an undocumented alien traveling in the area near the nation’s capitol.

A couple of months went by and I discovered that he had experienced this difficulty. The recommends for living ordinances are only good for 90 days, so we had to go through the interview process again with me and the stake president. This time, I called the temple and made the arrangements. Then I drove him up in my own vehicle to the temple. I figured it would be a long day of awkward silences, because I don’t speak Spanish and his English was limited. Instead, I was pleasantly surprised at how easily we communicated. I discovered that he was a great scriptorian and had a deep knowledge of the scriptures and the doctrines of the Church. I learned about his family and his devotion to care for them, even though they were thousands of miles away.

Our day at the temple was wonderful and he seemed to glow with the holy light that he felt there. On our way out of the temple, we met the temple president, Elder Earl C. Tingey, and spoke with him briefly. Elder Tingey had been one of the seven presidents of the Seventy prior to his assignment as temple president. It was a thrill for my friend to meet one of the Seventy.

On the way home, we spoke about the next step—getting him sealed to his family. Here’s where I became an activist for immigration reform. The only things that keep this good, righteous man from being sealed to his family are money and an international border. We can fix the money part easily. I am convinced that our immigration laws and national borders do more to hinder the Lord’s work than help it.

The world is changing right before our eyes. The global financial crisis is on the verge of making nation-states irrelevant. Nation-states evolved out of a military necessity. Once it was possible for cannons and artillery to blast through fortified castles, warfare changed to the art of controlling territory. To control a large amount of territory, it took the resources of a nation-state to finance and man the armies. That model has now become obsolete. In a world where we have global markets, global defense interests and alliances, etc., how relevant are national borders? In the next year, we may see the dissolution or break-up of Spain and Greece as nation-states. When the relationships between ethnic groups like Basques or Catalans are no longer served by the political entity called Spain, what is the justification for keeping that political entity intact? Similarly, when we look at the reasons for maintaining a semi-closed border with Mexico in a global society, would other arrangements not be more beneficial to both countries? Would not immigration reform benefit the spread of the gospel?

As I have mentioned previously, the Lord announced his intent to “make a full end of all nations” in D&C Section 87. Whether or not the reader believes the “new world order” to be a positive or a negative, it simply is a reality. The Lord will use the emergent world order to accomplish his ends, just as he used the Roman Empire to do so anciently or as he used Russian Communism to diminish the entrenched religious opposition to the entry of Mormon missionaries into the old Soviet empire. It may be the case that the last obstacle to Zion’s establishment is nationalism. Once we begin to regard one another as “no more strangers and foreigners, but fellowcitizens with the saints, and of the household of God,” we relinquish an important barrier to Zion’s progress. With that in mind, it might be well for us to reconsider our opinions, forsake racist sentiments that are covered by the appearance of Pharasaic “law-and-order” demands, and for us to reach out to the undocumented and offer support and succor. In conclusion, let us more perfectly live the ideal expressed in Deuteronomy 24:14–15 which says:

Thou shalt not oppress an hired servant that is poor and needy, whether he be of thy brethren, or of thy strangers that are in thy land within thy gates: At his day thou shalt give him his hire, neither shall the sun go down upon it; for he is poor, and setteth his heart upon it: lest he cry against thee unto the Lord, and it be sin unto thee.

Again, I appreciate all who have read my original article and expressed their opinions. I hope these thoughts will cause additional reflection and a softening of the heart through the Lord’s Spirit.

Image: rickpilot_2000CC BY 2.0

31 comments

  1. Mr. West — Are you even thinking about what D&C 58:21 means? It means, among other things, that “humanitarian” concerns, and upholding the law, are NOT mutually exclusive things. If you are honest about it, the laws of God, and the laws of the land which grow therefrom, are instituted with “humanitarian” concerns in mind. In other words, crime victimizes innocent persons — and it is not well for innocent persons to be victimized. Such is, in fact, a “humanitarian” concern. (And, no, Mr. West, illegal immigration is NOT a victimless crime.)

    “And see that all these things are done in wisdom and order…” (Mosiah 4:27)

    Of course we are to give alms to the poor.

    But it is not God’s will that we suffer our own children to starve as a result.

    It is not God’s will that we suffer this nation, and its Constitution — established by God for the protection of religious and other liberties — to be overrun by millions of veritable invaders who do NOT respect this nation nor what it stands for.

    It is not God’s will that Latter-Day Saints defy laws of the land which are designed to protect liberty, national stability, and order.

    And now about the “unfortunate” unemployed, underemployed, underpaid, overtaxed, and foreclosed upon as a direct result of illegal immigration, Mr. West? Have you no compassion for these?

    Further, will you continue to falsely characterize illegal entry into this country as a “civil infraction,” when in fact it is a crime as is taking out a visa with an intent to overstay? Does the pursuit of “a better life” justify child identity theft, Mr. West? How about shoplifting and bank robbery? Are these justifiable too in the name of the pursuit of a “better life?”

    Are unscrupulous LDS businessmen — who promote and rationalize illegal immigration, in order to maintain their cheap labor pool and boost profits at the expense of the American taxpayer and society at large — endeavoring to “cover their sins,” with pretenses of “compassion?”

    You do bear false witness against your neighbor, Mr. West, by characterizing those LDS who believe in the 12th and 13th Articles of Faith, and in the 8th, 9th, and 10th Commandments (seeing as these have not been officially rescinded, despite your subtle suggestions), as “Pharisee-like,” “slavish,” devoted to “unjust” laws, and “racist.” Again if you are honest about it, Mr. West, the violation of immigration law and related laws is directly related to those five doctrinal points, above.

    Regarding “following the prophet,” the matter is really quite simple, Mr. West: following the prophet means just that, following the prophet. The prophet has NOT spoken in endorsement of the Utah Compact. Authority matters in LDS doctrine, Mr. West. I challenge you to show me the prophet’s signature or likeness, in endorsement of the Utah Compact. And, no, the Public Affairs Department does NOT have investiture of priesthood authority to establish new doctrine, policy, nor posture in behalf of the Church (i.e., with no express First Presidency imprimatur, in each instance).

    “…are some of us requiring LDS immigrants to become Americans as a prerequisite to our acceptance of them as saints?”

    As you know, it is not necessary for persons in Mexico to emigrate to America in order to become members of the LDS Church nor to visit the temple, as the Church is fully established in Mexico (for example) and that country is home to a number of temples. So why are you advancing this straw man, Mr. West?

    Why do you deny the typical reason “undocumented immigrants” are undocumented, Mr. West? Why are you unable to acknowledge that in most cases, the reason they are “undocumented” is that they willfully defied U.S. immigration law and continue to lead lives of dishonesty and illegality today (as typified by you and your friend’s furtive, clandestine drive to the temple), and dishonor upon themselves and upon their own families?

    And if they consider themselves Americans, why do many of them (according to you) prefer to be referred to as “Mexicans?” The answer is that illegal aliens are here illegally because they disrespect this country; and, in most cases, teach such disrespect to their children.

    Why will you deny that illegal-alien parents break up THEIR OWN families, as a result of their own, willful illegality, Mr. West? You do mischaracterize the situation by refusing to acknowledge that illegal-alien parents are perfectly able to take their children back with them — thus obviating the need to break up a family. Why will you deny these basic facts, Mr. West, even by omission?

    Are you going to put us on and assert that 11-30 million illegal immigrants are here in order to escape the “terror” of “drug cartels,” Mr. West (all 11-30 million of them)?

    “These families show surprising resilience and ingenuity at surviving in difficult conditions.”

    So then why aren’t they remaining in their own countries, and building up the Church and their communities there — as the prophets have counseled? Or don’t you believe in “following the prophet, Mr. West?”

    “I am convinced that our immigration laws and national borders do more to hinder the Lord’s work than help it.”

    I’d like to know where this Spanish-speaking friend of yours hails from, that the Washington Temple would be the only temple in the world available to him and his family.

    “…the Lord announced his intent to “make a full end of all nations…”

    That will be HIS doing, Mr. West, in HIS time, and in HIS way — NOT yours, NOT by the doing of unscrupulous Mormon businessmen who, in their boundless, pathological greed, want illegal aliens here for their cheap labor because they do not want to have to pay their fellow American a fair wage.

    1. Nunn said: “And now about the “unfortunate” unemployed, underemployed, underpaid, overtaxed, and foreclosed upon as a direct result of illegal immigration, Mr. West? Have you no compassion for these?”

      Unemployment, underemployment, and overtaxation is NOT a “direct result” of illegal immigration. The primary cause of these is SOCIALISM. As far as taxation goes, to reduce that problem we need to get rid of our unconstitutional programs such as socialized healthcare, welfare, and retirement, and let these be run on a voluntary and privatized basis. Also, stopping our aggressive wars, only maintaining defensive wars, would greatly reduce taxes. The bad economy is a cause of our anti-free-market policies such as government subsidies (e.g. house loans and company bailouts), price floors (e.g. minimum wage), price ceilings, and policies which don’t allow employers to hire who they want (quotas, affirmative action, etc.). The economy is strongest in a free enterprise system.

      As for immigration, we would do good to remember that the great majority of us (if not all of us) are here as a result of immigration of us or previous generations. Fortunately for us, our ancestors were allowed to enter without large barriers as historically there weren’t quotas and laws were more based on blocking criminals and disease. Unfortunately this has changed nowadays where quotas are a primary driver for immigration policy–another anti-free-market policy that our government has implemented thereby further hurting our economy.

    2. Two questions:

      1) Who is the victim of the “crime” of immigration, and what proof do you have?

      2) Since you’re worried about immigrants ruining our Constitutional form of government, please cite the language in the Constitution that gives the federal government the authority to regulate immigration?

      1. Article 1, Section 9, clause 1. “The Migration or Importation of such Persons as any of the States now existing shall think proper to admit, shall not be prohibited by the Congress prior to the Year one thousand eight hundred and eight, but a tax or duty may be imposed on such Importation, not exceeding ten dollars for each Person.”

        This clause created a twenty year “hands-off” window to allow the states to address and ramp down the importation of slaves, while allowing Congress to impose a tax on those imports. When that window closed in 1808, full control over both “Migration and Importation of…Persons” reverted to the national government.

        The States originally had power over Migration and Naturalization under
        the Articles of Confederation, which James Madison called one of the
        great flaws and embarrassments of the Articles. The States gladly ceded
        that control to the national government at the Constitutional Convention
        almost without debate.

        But under the Constitution, the States have never had authority over “migration” because migration, according to Chief Justice John Marshall’s ruling in Gibbons v. Ogden, falls under commerce with foreign nations, power over which is expressly granted to the federal government.

        1. First, I’ll respond to your Article 1, Section 9, Clause 1 claim. This article is exclusively about slaves and the slave trade. It does not, and never has, controlled immigration of non-slaves. Here’s an article explaining that: http://www.heritage.org/constitution/#!/articles/1/essays/60/slave-trade

          If you can provide commentary from a reputable source stating to the contrary, I’d love to see it. But Gibbons v. Odgen isn’t on topic for this issue. Gibbons is a Commerce Clause dealing arising out of a dispute over waterways. http://www.oyez.org/cases/1792-1850/1824/1824_0 Here is an article on the matter that is very fair: http://www1.umn.edu/humanrts/immigrationlaw/chapter2.html (but note how this article can only offer ideas about where the Court found this because there is no definitive text in the Constitution authorizing deportation).

          Thus far, you have not provided the text that authorizes federal authority over immigration (remember, naturalization is not immigration). However, if you think the Commerce Clause gives Congress authority over immigration, then I’d like to know what you think the Commerce Clause doesn’t give Congress power over. Or, if you think that this is an implied power reserved for the federal government, then again what do you say to the other implied powers the Court has granted to the government over the years.

          But this goes back to the larger point I was making in my comments, which you ignored in your response. My point is this: if immigration was just another power the federal government gave itself, how can you support it and either 1) claim to have respect for the rule of law, or 2) disagree with any of the other powers the federal government gives itself without as a matter of principal, such as its expansive reading of the commerce clause and now tax clause, etc? You can’t have it both ways. If your position is “hey, the Supreme Court says the federal government can restrict immigrants (because it’s implied in the text of the Constitution), so they can,” that’s fine. But the Supreme Court says the federal government can do all kinds of things, and I’m willing to bet you disagree on some of them, and I doubt you want to concede the ability to object to them. If, on the other hand, your position is “I don’t care what the text of the Constitution says, I don’t want immigrants to come here without the government’s blessing,” then I’m not sure where you get your moral authority about the rule of law. You can’t claim to support the rule of law on issues in which you like the outcome and not when you don’t like the outcome. Basically, your position seems to be “living Constitution for me, not for thee.”

          Next, you said: “…the mere fact that certain people are here illegally. We can fix that easily, by making it legal.”

          “That’s like saying that the answer to murder, rape, bank robbery, and shoplifting is to make these things legal. A completely specious notion, as are the rest of your arguments.”

          Again, you’re ignoring my argument. Here is what I wrote in context: “it seems that much of the opposition from people on this blog, is the mere fact that certain people are here illegally. We can fix that easily, by making it legal. If immigration were legal, would you support it, since it would be done in full compliance with the law? If not, why not? Further, since the Book of Mormon seems to favor peaceful immigration, why not allow people to come here peacefully to seek better opportunities (Mosiah going to Zarahemla where there were significant linguistic problems with the natives (they even made the immigrant Mosiah king!), the Anti Lehi Nephites being given asylum and land (welfare!)). And seeking better opportunities in a different place is not coveting any more than going to college to get a better job is coveting, or moving from one state to another is coveting. There is nothing inherently unrighteous about trying to improve one’s material wellbeing.”

          My point is that immigration is not inherently immoral, like rape, murder, etc. You might disagree, but I think I have the Brethren on my side, given that they make a distinction when immigrants apply for baptism and they make no such distinction for rapists and murderers. If everyone just hates illegal immigration for the mere fact that it’s illegal, that’s a very easy fix. It’s the same as contracting without a license. Is it inherently immoral or is it just a crime because the government says so?

          Your next point was this: “…a great way to significantly reduce [identity theft committed by illegal aliens] would be to allow people to work here legally.”

          “As though this would magically transform these individuals into honest persons. False. It is not the law that “makes” the typical illegal-alien dishonest in his dealings with his fellow man or makes his immigration and work statuses illegal. Instead, they reveal it.”

          Again, I think we disagree on the moral implications of illegal immigration. I don’t think it’s indicative of a dishonest character by itself. However, I was responding to a point you had made earlier that illegal immigration leads to increases in crime, such as ID theft. My point is that if you are truly worried about ID theft you could decrease it significantly by permitting aliens to work under their own identities, as a practical matter. Furthermore, as a practical matter, I’m sure you would agree that people would be less prone to criminal behavior if they hadn’t had all honest avenues of employment criminalized. But if immigration restrictions are more important to you than reducing other crimes, I suppose this would not matter.

          Finally, you said this: “What data do you have to support the many assertions you make about the behavior of illegal immigrants?”

          “No “data” that I could ever give you would change your position. I know this, because of the abundant, incontrovertible evidence you already are in denial of.”

          In response: I think I replied thoughtfully to your posts. Frankly, I find in this a concession that no such data exists that will refute my points, at least that you are aware of. However, I am more than willing to review some links in response to this. And if I have been obtuse, perhaps you can recap the “abundant, incontrovertible evidence” of which I am in denial. I promise I’ll respond. And if this data you have won’t convince me, perhaps it will convince some readers. So, please share.

  2. Nunn’s response reflects the feelings of hundreds of good LDS members that I personally know and have discussed this issue. Everything that West has claimed is one-sided much like Nunn’s comments on Compassion in which West stresses using compassion for those people who have illegally come into this country, illegally stayed, and illegally taken some citizen’s job, and those citizens who theyselves and their families are negatively affected but no mention is made about having compassion for them.

    Probably one of the worst things to come from our leniency on the illegals is that our communities and our nation are becoming polarized and citizens are concerned about what they see and they wonder about the true value of citizenship and the protection of citizenship rights.

    The longer this nation allows the illegal immigration issue to fester, the more polarized we become until all minorities that appear to be illegal will be scorned.

  3. On a Sunday morning in May of 2011, our son of 31 years walked out of our home never to return. Minutes later while waiting at a stop light on his way to work for Gold Cross Ambulance his car was rear-ended by a pot smoking drunken Mexican National traveling 75 Miles Per Hour. The criminal was heard to say repeatedly “He f–ed up…” whereupon he fled the scene , leaving my son with severe brain injuries trapped in the wreckage, to fend for himself, to bleed out and die.

    For eight days we were forced looked on in horror as the doctors tried to save what was left of of our son. Our family and stake fasted and prayed for a miracle- but it was not meant to be. On Memorial Day, he died from his injuries. We buried him near his grandparents in the city of his birth, On the day of his burial, My wife, my son and I were supposed to be in Ontario, Canada at his cousin’s temple wedding.

    The killer had a criminal record dating back to 2005. It appears in ’05 he committed felony,(along with several other crimes) which if I understand correctly, should have triggered and ICE deportation hearing. Apparently, some kind of plea bargain was reached. He served just two months for burglary and was released.

    What ever words I use to express the sorrow and loss, (and yes, even guilt- after all aren’t we taught that what father’s are supposed to do in LDS and Christian culture – to protect our children from harm ),the pain we have felt, the nightmare of watching helplessly as our beloved died before our eyes.. these words are but letters on a page, meaningless and empty compared to unending grief we will have to endure for the rest our our lives.

    Of course our family is not alone. Many others in and out of the church across this state and country have and will endure the agony of their loved ones being slaughtered, their women ravished, their property destroyed, because immigrants are abusing their status and illegals are also involved in committing further crimes against the innocent.

    I could detail other crimes and the consequences to society of immigrant crime- drug/human smuggling, ID theft, destruction of the environment, robbery, cop killing etc. But my article is simply a response to Mr. West, and not a tome on immigrant criminal activity.

    Mr. West’s accusation of ” slavish adherence by latter- day saints to unjust immigration policies…” as a “cop- out” to avoid helping the unfortunate- on this assertion alone- I question Mr. West understanding of the immigration issue. Simple anecdotes concerning school and temple attendance and blowing off those of us who insist on the rule of law shows a naivete – a head -in the- sand approach similar to that of the Utah Compact, which if adopted by the Utah legislature will turn into policies leading to codified law which will only lead to further death and destruction of the property and lives of innocent civilians which in large part is brought on by heady back slapping and self congratulations and the surrender of our sovereignty and borders.

    Whether the Lord is using the immigrant issue to accomplish his purposes I cannot say. Nor do I care. It is the sworn- constitutional duty of all law enforcement officers of our city, county, state and federal governments from the mayors, governors and U.S. President on down to protect the property and lives of U.S. citizens and those law abiding immigrants who reside within our borders and to cooperate to assert this legitimate end as far as their jurisdictions allow. They cannot, by the nature of their duties and oath abrogate this responsibility, regardless of how they personally may or may not feel about the immigrant issue. Failing to uphold the general/immigration/criminal laws of the land is a betrayal of their oaths and duties, and will as I have previously asserted, only result in getting more innocent civilians killed.

    The destruction of property, illegal entry into our country and the killing of the innocent is not humane, and it is anything but Christian. It is utterly and terribly wrong.

    John Bowers

    1. I am so sorry to hear about the loss of your son. That is truly a tragedy, and I can’t even begin to comprehend the suffering this has caused you and your family.

      I want to say, though, that I think it’s important that we separate one “crime” from another. In arguing against the presence of undocumented immigrants, it is common to hear reference to such tragedies at the hands of such an immigrant. But take, for example, an undocumented immigrant who invades a home and shoots the homeowner in the process. In that case the home invasion and shooting were both *inherently* criminal acts, but should not be conflated with the fact that the shooter was an immigrant – documented or not. In structure and logic, such arguments against allowing the presence of undocumented immigrants are roughly egual to arguments against the private ownership of firearms/assault weapons.

      We can morally punish inherently criminal actions no matter who the criminal may be, or where they come from; but I think we step outside the bounds of morality when we cause undue suffering in cases where the only “crime” was crossing an arbitarily-established political boundary.

  4. In order to obtain a temple recommend one must be honest in their dealings with their fellowman so right way all illegal aliens who are LDS are disqualified from going to the temple. Why on earth was is absolutely necessary that this illegal Allen member of the church go to a temple located here in the USA? Mexico has many temples now and the church continues to build even more in fact I do believe that aside from the USA Mexico has the most temples in the world. As soon as you threw the ward racist into it you completely invalidated everything you said because you are trying to make this a racial issue when it is not. If any thing you are the racist, racist towards a group of people so much so that you ignore all others. One more thing. You now have admitted to adding a abetting a criminal which means you could be prosecuted and go to prison for it.

    Here is the real reason I believe you are so pro-criminal it is because these people are believed to be the decedents of lehi and therefore it is ok for them to break the laws and harm others.

  5. I’m really quite astonished at the attitudes and the vitriol displayed so far in the comments. I’m hoping that more moderate and reasonable voices won’t be scared away from the discussion. Where is the sense of love between brethren and followers of Christ?

    Every now and then, I stumble upon a piece of writing where the author really enunciates something I had been mulling over, but had not quite reached the point where I could elucidate it. I found one such passage recently in reading Bushman’s “Joseph Smith: Rough Stone Rolling.” Regarding the Book of Mormon, Bushman stated:

    “All this turned American history upside down. The story of Israel overshadowed the history of American liberty. Literal Israel stood at the center of history, not the United States. The book sacralized the land, but condemned the people. The Indians were the chosen ones, not the European interlopers. The Book of Mormon was the seminal text, not the Constitution or the Declaration of Independence. The gathering of lost Israel, not the establishment of liberty, was the great work. In the Book of Mormon, the biblical overwhelms the national.”

    That really ties in with my whole point in these immigration articles. Again, from Bushman:

    “Taken as a whole, the Book of Mormon can be read as a ‘document of profound social protest’ against the dominant culture of Joseph Smith’s time. . . The Gentiles ‘put down the power and the miracles of God, and preach up unto themselves, their own wisdom, and their own learning, that they may get gain, and grind upon the faces of the poor.’ The nation must remember God and restore Israel–or be blasted.”

    Undeniably, one of the key precepts of the Book of Mormon, also emphasized by the Doctrine and Covenants, is the bane of inequality. Again, citing Bushman:

    “The Book of Mormon proposes a new purpose for America: becoming a realm of righteousness rather than an empire of liberty. Against increasing wealth and inequality, the Book of Mormn advocates the cause of the poor. Against the subjection of the Indians, it promises the continent to the native people. Against republican governments, it proposes righteous rule by judges and kings under God’s law. . . Against skepticism, it promotes belief; against nationalism, a universal Israel. It forsees disaster for the nation if the love of riches, resistance to revelation, and Gentile civilization prevail over righteousness, revelation, and Israel.”

    So far, the commentators are arguing for the preservation the Gentile’s America. If that’s the case, they’re on the wrong side. Bushman has hit the bulls-eye!

    1. My goodness! I had no idea that Mr. Bushman had been ordained an apostle, and that your personal opinions, and your interpretations of Mr. Bushman’s opinion, were now canonized scripture that could be referenced as authority to circularly justify your positions. Could someone please point out to me in which General Conference that occurred? :)

      Like you, Brother West, I am not affiliated with a political party, and I am also convinced that both are corrupt, albeit in different degrees.
      That said, I’ve noticed that you have a habit of hurling epithets in the form of labels and names at those who don’t share your personal opinion on the subject of immigration. Your loaded labels like “racist”, “controversial”, “Pharisee-like” and “slavish” to those who want federal law enforced, while assigning the exalted label and status of “humanitarian” to those who share your own personal opinion, are truly revealing about you and your true nature. You seem incapable of writing without “slavish” devotion to such labels. So while you claim to not be partisan, your own choice of words belies that you really are! Saul Alinsky (and his self-proclaimed inspiration source, which is NOT divine) must be proud, since those are his tactics! I doubt if very many people who read your opinions here are deceived by your self-applied label of nonpartisan! It’s quite obvious to most of us where you stand.
      Certainly you must have spent considerable time composing, writing, and editing your exposition of your opinion, so you must have carefully chosen your words. I have found that those who hurl such epithets as “racist” are typically the ones who are truly race-obsessed! They are looking for any excuse to label someone else as “racist” with the excuse that they can then quickly dismiss them! They are looking for racism everywhere that their judgmentalism can find it! But those are racist thoughts! The very act of looking relentlessly for racist action in others suggests that the thought itself is motivated by race. Race-obsessed IS racist! If you want to see a racist, just look at those ascribing that label to someone else with a condescending and dismissive tone. That’s where you’ll find the racist!
      That tells me a great deal about what I need to know about you. And your cause!
      I used to work in an office where we spoke Spanish every day. There were 120 of us. Only about half were of Mexican descent. They preferred to use the term “Hispanic”, NOT Mexican! In fact, the office name was chosen by my Spanish-speaking colleagues. It was called the Hispanic Center! So perhaps the people you have associated with in your roles have a somewhat distorted conception of the culture. Perhaps that has distorted your view also. I know that ALL of those in my office who were not of Mexican lineage would have taken great umbrage to being labeled as “Mexican”. When I lived in S America, I noticed that they referred to themselves as “Latin” (latino). We used that term because it was the one they used themselves, but I have been surprised that the term “latino” isn’t used so much here in the US. I don’t know why.
      I also couldn’t help that you self-label your editorial opinion through innuendo as a “fulfillment of prophecy”! It’s in the bold-faced headline! It’s also a very bold claim that pre-assumes the accuracy of your premise! But a false premise leads to an erroneous conclusion. I’m really struggling to find a modern-day apostle that endorses your opinion, much less the self-exalting stamp of prophetic vision.
      I also noticed that in your previous opinion, you assigned such American values as “equality for men and women, racial equality, being good stewards of the earth, volunteerism, and humanitarian service” only to the political left. I don’t know many of my friends on the political right that would disagree with those values that your seem to think are only advanced by the left. Where they might perhaps disagree with those on the political left are on how intrusive and compulsive government should be in achieving those common values.
      I have noticed that those on the left, who claim membership in the Lord’s kingdom, often trumpet “social justice”, and claim the Book of Mormon for their authority. However, they ignore the fact that the “Lord’s way” of “humbling the rich” and “exalting the poor” is NOT through collective coveting and stealing, a violation of two of those very basic Ten Commandments, but through VOLUNTARY giving, which the Church has practiced by example throughout its history. Hence, the Lord tells us that HE — not government — will “provide for /His/ saints”. It is Satan’s plan that seeks to usurp that role and assign it to government! Government does it through FORCE, not LOVE! The former is Satan’s way, and the latter is God’s way! And that tells us who inspires those different approaches to helping the poor who are perennially among us!
      I have carefully researched the term “social justice” in LDS writings and pronouncements. It appears only once that I could find in historical writings — in the writing of Ezra Taft Benson. He soundly condemns the practice! Pres. Benson specially refers to that term as what it is — Marxism, socialism, and communism! It is NOT harmonious with the gospel of Christ, the US Constitution, self-reliance, or personal liberty! But those who wish to see it enforced at the point of a government gun, including some among the membership of the Church, continue to proclaim it! The very thought of using government “redistribution” of the fruit of one person’s labor by coercion to another, is a covetous thought! It is my testimony that those who use their votes to steal, just like those who use their hands to steal, will be held accountable at the Final Judgment by He who has forbidden stealing in all its forms since ancient times!

    2. Both Mr. West and Mr. Bushman are wrong.

      First, the Gentiles very much are party to the covenant, by adoption. This means that it inherently is their land as much as it may be any other people’s land.

      Two, the benefits of the covenant are contingent upon righteousness. This means that the Gentiles will lose the land if they become ripe in iniquity.

      It also means, however, that illegal aliens — most of whose babies are born OUT OF WEDLOCK, and most of whom pursue lives of dishonesty and illegality and teach their children to to the same — certainly are likewise unworthy of the benefits covenant.

      Three, neither Mr. West nor Mr. Bushman know that this nation’s illegal aliens comprise the “Children of Jacob”) or ever were an actual party to the “covenant” regarding this land to begin with.

  6. Brother West, let me first state that I agree with you 90 percent. To all others, may I suggest in- or formal training in logic, economics and politics and government? Latter-Day Saints all over the world read the same scriptures, but there remain divisions concerning social/economic issues. As the hymn declares, “There is a right and wrong to every question…”. The only question now is, which side is correct? Please bear with me as I attempt to explain and expound on a few of Brother West’s points.

    First, the point made about the laws of the land naturally following the laws of God. Really? There is not ONE SINGLE law you can point to that does not in some way withstand either Constitutional or scriptural scrutiny? Here is my partial list: The NDAA (especially section 1021); PPACA (AKA Obamacare); Medicare; Medicaid; Social Security Act of 1935; Executive Order 6102 (confiscating privately-held gold in the US), etc.. The point is, men in power have ever perverted laws to suit their needs/desires, either well-intentioned or otherwise. Bad laws do exist. The possibility was even enunciated by the Lord, who stated in Doctrine and Covenants 98: 4–7,

    “And now, verily I say unto you concerning the laws of the land, it is my will that my people should observe to do all things whatsoever I command them. 5 And that law of the land which is constitutional, supporting that principle of freedom in maintaining rights and privileges, belongs to all mankind, and is justifiable before me. 6 Therefore, I, the Lord, justify you, and your brethren of my church, in befriending that law which is the constitutional law of the land; 7 And as pertaining to law of man, whatsoever is more or less than this, cometh of evil.”

    There it is plain that 1) Bad laws can be made by men and 2) The principles of freedom contained in the US constitution are there for ALL MEN, not just “US citizens”.

    On that note, let us examine what it is to be a “citizen”. The 14th amendment to the constitution was ratified in 1868, and its INTENT was to encompass only the newly-freed slave population. Two senators, Senator Jacob Howard and Senator Edward Cowan emphasised this point when they wrote, respectively,

    “Every person born within the limits of the United States, and subject to their jurisdiction, is by virtue of natural law and national law a citizen of the United States. This will not, of course, include persons born in the United States who are foreigners, aliens, who belong to the families of ambassadors or foreign ministers accredited to the Government of the United States, but will include every other class of persons. It settles the great question of citizenship and removes all doubt as to what persons are or are not citizens of the United States. This has long been a great desideratum in the jurisprudence and legislation of this country.” and

    “[A foreigner in the United States] has a right to the protection of the laws; but he is not a citizen in the ordinary acceptance of the word…” .

    It then follows that children of aliens and foreigners, often called ‘anchor babies’, are not at all meant to be citizens, as their alliegance to the US is not complete! There was (and still is, according to US law) a very real and legal difference between a citizen, a naturalised citizen, and an alien or foreigner. The citizens, for example possessed voting rights and could choose their representatives while aliens could merely work and make money. All were protected under US law against crimes and torts, but citizenship granted real privileges in US society.

    Speaking of privileges, one of the biggest complaints against “illegals” is their partaking of welfare or other State-granted goodies, while not paying their “fair share” or some like. The issue is not the people or their legal status (are you telling me there are absolutely NO US citizens who act in a like manner?!?), but the welfare itself. The Lord Himself and (I’m certain) all of the modern-day prophets have decried this wicked practice of governmnet forcibly taking from one and bestowing it on another, merely because he is ‘in want’. If welfare is eliminated entirely (as it should be, taking into account progressive and righteous measures for ensuring those who have been suckered into drinking the welfare Kool-aid do not immediately perish for want of food/clothing/shelter), NO-ONE will be living at the expense of anyone else, immigration status aside!

    But is it wrong, then, to be in the US illegally? Yes, it is direct opposition to current US law. Yes, the people then who do arrive and remain thus are in constant violation of US law. Recall though the Lord’s counsel in section 98 in the Doctrine and Covenants that ALL men are born free, and it is the law that makes them free. To which law is He referring? Surely not then-current US law, which (in 1833 when the revelation was given to the Prophet Joseph Smith) allowed and ENCOURAGED the enslavement of negroes! The Lord was rather speaking of His law, or what is also termed ‘Natural Law’. Natural law states that all men are free and are born with inalienable rights and privileges (including the right to travel and make a living suited to his liking) and the US Constitution was written to reflect this. Which law trumps, when there is an apparent discord between man’s and God’s laws? Or put differently, when evil laws are enacted, should the Latter-Day Saint spport those evil laws? The answer is of course ‘NO!’ We as Saints should do everything in our power to change or nullify unjust and evil legislation.

    This does lead most people to ask, ‘Why then do the “illegals” remain so? Why don’t they just go back to Mexico (or Africa, or wherever their families originated)?’ Only God and those individual people know the true motivations in their hearts, but I suspect a great many of them truly believe they are doing nothing morally wrong by risking imprisonment/deportation or death to obtain the material means with which they may feed their families. Many people do not realise this, but Mexico is a cesspool. The economy is in shambles, there are very few personal liberties remaining, and for many people the ONLY option available for their family’s survival is to find work in the US. Whoever says otherwise is placing themselves in a position to judge the immigrants’ actions and motives–a position which the Lord has specifically prohibited.

    Concerning temple worthiness and being a strict adeherant to US law, I hold a recommend worthily and also bear my priesthood in a like manner. I have also not filed my taxes since I was 16 ( I am now 32). When I was initially scheduling for my endowments, I had the option of moving to a different location to be interviewed by that Bishop or remaining where I was. I knew the new bishop had a dim view of all who did not “pay their taxes”, so elected to remain where I was. My Bishop knew me, was well-versed in law and my character, and knew and understood my particular set of political practices. I was found worthy not because of leniency or dereliction of duty on his part, but because my understanding on those matters compels me to act in a way that is consistent with my faith. I am using this as an example, so please do not attempt to discredit anything I write here based on any lack of knowledge on your part. If a person is acting within the amount of light and knowledge he possesses and those actions do not contradict gospel or Natural Law, then he is of course qualified for those blessings for which his actions allow.

    And finally, economy. The greatest impediment of course in this discussion is the Minimum Wage. Prophets have repeatedly spoken against it (see “Prohets, Principles and National Survival”), as it is the denial of everyday men and women the use of their rightful, lawful property by the State (their businesses and capital). Minimum wage dictates that a business or person cannot legally pay any man less than D Dollars/period for any task or position. What happens, according to the laws of economics, when a price floor is placed for a particular good (in this case labour)? There occurs a glut of that good! Because men cannot legally sell their goods (again, labour to be performed by the worker) for less than D Dollars/period, there will be a great many goods (workers) that will remain unsold (not hired) because people (businesses) find it unprofitable to pay any more than D Dollars/period for that good!

    Undocumented workers serve a very logical, necessary role in an overly-regulated, Statist economy such as ours: They are the only goods (labour) that may be purchased at a rate below the legal minimum, because they are a) willing to do it and b) the labours they perform are not profitable to the employer if purchased at a rate higher than what they are! Yes, there some busineses who could probably afford to pay more, but that is really for them and the Lord to determine. Undocumented workers are not at all “stealing” jobs belonging to anyone in the US any more than legitimate construction firms are stealing contracts by placing a successful, lower bid than their competition. But ultimately, jobs are (again) nothing more than PRIVATE agreements between two people and their respective properties, into which the government has NO moral authority to stick their nose.

    I hope this clears some things up, and that the Spirit of Christ can reside in every man’s heart for his fellow men!

  7. Greed is a major problem in our day, both in and out of the Church. Doubtless Jesus foresaw this, when he spoke of camels, and eyes of needles.

    In the name of “liberty,” and “natural law,” Libertarians are preaching a new doctrine, of open borders. These claim not only that illegal immigration and employment of illegal aliens are a basic human right, but also that they are an economic necessity, when arguably, it really is a matter of greed and covetousness on the part of the parties involved: one, the illegal aliens, who endeavor to obtain “a better life” through stealing when instead, they should be seeking to improve conditions in their own countries; and two, the unscrupulous businessmen who employ them, who COULD, but simply do not WANT to pay their fellow American a fair wage.

    Others rationalize illegal immigration in the false names of “humanity,” “compassion,” and “loving thy neighbor.” I say “false” names, since, contrary to the false insinuations of the Public Affairs Department, there is nothing immoral nor cruel about enforcing immigration law, nor in sending one back to his home country. Moreover, there is no TRUE compassion in condoning illegality, dishonesty, and disrespect for one’s fellow man. And, of course, there is the curious dearth of compassion on the part of those who favor illegal immigration and oppose enforcement of immigration law, toward the numerous victims of illegal immigration, which victims include America’s unemployed, underemployed, underpaid, foreclosed-upon, identity-bereft, and maimed and killed. And again there seems to be little or no compassion for the millions around the world who have it much worse than this country’s illegal aliens but who, in sharp contrast, actually love the nation and what it stands for, enough to respectfully wait in line.

    Still others candidly admit that they simply are motivated by the “bottom line.”

    All of these are quick to sweep aside various issues of right and wrong. They dismiss immigration and related laws as “bad,” “outdated,” and “immoral.”

    Thus we have corrupt groups, such as the Utah Commission on Immigration and Migration, calling for “cost-benefit analyses” of illegal immigration, when instead, they ought to be concerned about doing what they know is right, and about not doing what they know is wrong. Of course these “cost-benefit analyses” pertain NOT to society at large, but only to the bottom lines of greedy businessmen and unscrupulous churches.

    The result is deceitful propaganda statements — such as the “Utah Compact” — and unconstitutional legislation, such as Utah HB116, a GENUINELY bad law, whose true and well-obfuscated purpose is to provide greedy businessmen with a captive workforce of cheap illegal-alien labor, and also protect unscrupulous churches’ numerous illegal-alien/identity-thief congregations.

    We even have articles, by individuals such as Mr. West — who, alarmingly, and based on his and others’ misinterpretations of doctrine, basically dismisses the divine, ONGOING mission of the United States Constitution and essentially regards that document, or allegiance to it, as an impediment to God’s program. Never mind that failing to defend this nation and its Constitution inevitably would result in the “principles of freedom” — including that of RELIGIOUS liberty — being taken not only from U.S. citizens,” but from “ALL MEN,” as well, by extension (which WOULD impede God’s program!). And, no, Mr. Bushman, “the establishment of righteousness,” and “the establishment of liberty,” are NOT mutually exclusive elements; and, no, the land is NOT promised specifically, certainly not exclusively, to the “native people;” and, no, the issue is NOT a matter of the U.S. Constitution VERSUS the Book of Mormon — in fact, it is religious freedom, PROTECTED IN PART BY THE GOD-GIVEN U.S. CONSTITUTION, which has made the coming forth and ongoing dissemination of the Book of Mormon possible.

    As for the division among many who read the same scriptures, the problem is that some are willing to deny various principles set forth therein. For example, some Mormons — in their weakness of faith — see the illegal-alien potential recruitment pool in America as the answer to bolstering North American LDS Church membership and tithing numbers. Accordingly, these have made a conscious decision to basically set aside such considerations as the 13th Article of Faith (“Are you honest in your dealings with your fellow man?”), the 12th Article of Faith (“obeying, honoring, and sustaining the law”), the 8th Commandment (stealing children’s identities, and stealing various other services, opportunities, privileges and resources to which one is not entitled, see John 1:10), the 9th Commandment (committing all manner of fraud, lying, and cheating, on a regular, unrepentant basis, such as perjuring oneself on I-9 and other forms), and the 10th Commandment (“Thou shalt not covet” — which arguably IS the prime motivation for illegally entering, occupying, and stealing from this nation, since Mexico is NOT in fact the “cesspool” of crime and poverty many claim it is, especially as compared to other areas of the world).

    They deny the fact that allowing persons who do NOT love this country and what it stands for to enter and occupy it by the millions and millions, is of COURSE going to be detrimental to the unity, stability, and integrity of the nation, and that it also will jeopardize “freedom[s]… rights and privileges” (Doctrine and Covenants 98:4–7), including religious liberties, again not only for U.S. citizens, but for everyone else in the world, as well, by extension.

    They preach FALSE doctrine, such as, “The Second Great Commandment trumps the 12th Article of Faith.” Again, core Gospel principles are set aside.

    “Let no man break the laws of the land, for he that keepeth the laws of God hath NO need to break the laws of the land.” (D&C 58:21, caps mine);

    and,

    “On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets” (Matthew 22:40), which of course implies that the principle of “obeying, honoring and sustaining” the law, including immigration laws and laws prohibiting stealing, are SUBSUMED in, and part-and-parcel of — NOT in conflict with — the commandment to “Love thy neighbour as thyself.”

    No, laws against shoplifting, stealing, and robbing banks — notwithstanding the thief is stealing “only in the interest of making a better life for himself” — is NOT “bad law.” Laws designed to keep people out of this nation who disrespect its sovereignty, laws, and customs — notwithstanding the illegal invader is pursuing such a life of illegality, dishonesty and dishonor “only in the interest of making a better life for himself” — is, again, NOT “bad law.”

    In my opinion, the Libertarian notion — in the name of “liberty,” and “natural law” — of allowing persons NOT friendly to this nation and its Constitution to enter and occupy the land by tens of millions; the false notion that obeying, honoring and sustaining the law is “Pharisaic;” the notion that enforcing just and Constitutional laws — such as immigration laws and laws against fraud and stealing children’s identities — is inhumane, heartless, immoral, and even malicious; and the exceedingly alarming and decidedly anti-American notion that allegiance to the U.S. Constitution and respect for the laws and borders pertaining thereto present an impediment to God’s program, are among the “doctrines of devils” foreseen by men of old (1 Timothy 4:1); indeed, they are a fulfillment of various prophecies that in the last days, men would pervert the right ways of the Lord (Acts 13:10) and “call evil good, and good evil,” “put darkness for light, and light for darkness,” and “put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter” (Isaiah 5:20).

    1. I have a few more follow up questions to your newer response.

      First, you’re dealing primarily in generalizations here. What data do you have to support the many assertions you make about the behavior of illegal immigrants?

      Second, things like identity theft, although certainly associated with illegal immigration, are not necessarily products of immigration, and supporting ones right to immigrate does not mean one supports other illegal activities that are committed by immigrants. I am against identify theft, and a great way to significantly reduce it would be to allow people to work here legally.

      Next, your idea of the Constitution is problematic. I was coy above when I asked you to cite the language in the Constitution that allows the federal government to regulate immigration. It’s not in there. The Federal government has constitutional authority to regulate naturalization. But immigration and naturalization are two different things. Naturalization is when a government grants citizenship to a foreign person. Immigration is exclusively about presence. We allow many many people to immigrate here legally without naturalizing them. The Founders never tried to regulate immigration, even as waves and waves of foreigners came to America. The first federal immigration laws didn’t appear until the latter half of the 19th century. They were put in place to keep the Chinese out. (I’d cite the case law directly, but I’m at home, and my Immigration Law textbook isn’t here.)

      So, I find your idea of constitutional government skewed. If you agree with the US Supreme Court that, although the Constitution doesn’t mention immigration, the power is implied in the nature of government itself, you’ve lost the ability to object to just about any law or practice you find “unconstitutional” by appealing to the text of the Constitution. If implied powers are fair game, what, then, is unconstitutional?

      Next, it seems that much of the opposition from people on this blog, is the mere fact that certain people are here illegally. We can fix that easily, by making it legal. If immigration were legal, would you support it, since it would be done in full compliance with the law? If not, why not? Further, since the Book of Mormon seems to favor peaceful immigration, why not allow people to come here peacefully to seek better opportunities (Mosiah going to Zarahemla where there were significant linguistic problems with the natives (they even made the immigrant Mosiah king!), the Anti Lehi Nephites being given asylum and land (welfare!)). And seeking better opportunities in a different place is not coveting any more than going to college to get a better job is coveting, or moving from one state to another is coveting. There is nothing inherently unrighteous about trying to improve one’s material wellbeing.

      Additionally, given that the Constitution does not give the government the authority to regulate immigration, I would argue that the restrictions on immigration are themselves illegal until a constitutional amendment is passed legally. Thus, it’s more likely that the illegal actor here is the US government (arguably the states have the authority to regulate immigration, but that doesn’t seem to be your position). Again, if you believe that a government program can be constitutional even though it’s never mentioned in the Constitution (even SCOTUS admits it’s not mentioned), then you can’t object to anything really, unless it’s specifically proscribed by the text of the Constitution. I only bring this up because you seem to have so much worry that the Constitution might be vitiated through immigration. Does this at all change your position?

      Finally, I find it strange that on this post some reject some words because they were not uttered by an Apostle, but at the same cite (dis)honesty with one’s fellow man as making illegal immigrants unworthy of temple blessings. The Apostles do not interpret illegal immigration as dishonestly with one’s fellow man and allow illegal immigrants temple privileges. Given that I can choose between how the Apostles interpret that language and how angry people on internet comment sections interpret it, I’ll stick with the brethren.

      1. Thank you, Matt! I did not specifically raise the issue of the unconstitutionality of (probably all) federal immigration legislation! I’m reminded of the landmark Supreme Court case, Marbury vs Madison, where Justice Marshall determined that all acts of legislation repugnant to the Constitution are null and void. …that, and I’m happy to see I and Mr. West are not the only ones who read this site who believe as we do (including Jeromy and JC). Thanks again!

      2. “…the mere fact that certain people are here illegally. We can fix that easily, by making it legal.”

        That’s like saying that the answer to murder, rape, bank robbery, and shoplifting is to make these things legal. A completely specious notion, as are the rest of your arguments.

        “…a great way to significantly reduce [identity theft committed by illegal aliens] would be to allow people to work here legally.”

        As though this would magically transform these individuals into honest persons. False. It is not the law that “makes” the typical illegal-alien dishonest in his dealings with his fellow man or makes his immigration and work statuses illegal. Instead, they reveal it.

        “What data do you have to support the many assertions you make about the behavior of illegal immigrants?”

        No “data” that I could ever give you would change your position. I know this, because of the abundant, incontrovertible evidence you already are in denial of.

        “…cite the language in the Constitution that allows the federal government to regulate immigration. I’’s not in there.”

        Yes it is. Article 1, Section 9, Clause 1. “The Migration or Importation of such Persons as any of the States now existing shall think proper to admit, shall not be prohibited by the Congress prior to the Year one thousand eight hundred and eight, but a tax or duty may be imposed on such Importation, not exceeding ten dollars for each Person.”

        This clause created a twenty year “hands-off” window to allow the states to address and ramp down the importation of slaves, while allowing Congress to impose a tax on those imports. When that window closed in 1808, full control over both “Migration and Importation of…Persons” reverted to the national government.

        The States originally had power over Migration and Naturalization under
        the Articles of Confederation, which James Madison called one of the
        great flaws and embarrassments of the Articles. The States gladly ceded
        that control to the national government at the Constitutional Convention
        almost without debate.

        But under the Constitution, the States have never had authority over “migration” because migration, according to Chief Justice John Marshall’s ruling in Gibbons v. Ogden, falls under commerce with foreign nations, power over which is expressly granted to the federal government.

  8. Interesting comments. Some state…”It is not God’s will…” Really? Do any of us seriously believe “we” know God’s will? Wow. What an assumption. It is entirely possible that in many cases the Lord has led many to come to America, with or without legal entry. Who really knows?

    The Lord commanded Nephi to slay Laban. Probably against the law of the land.

    The Lord sent Israelite armies into foreign lands, commanding them to slay everyone…women, children, men, animals, let nothing survive. Probably against the law of “their” land.

    Hopeful immigrants send HUGE amounts of money to the United States Embassy in their county, applying for Visas. They are most often denied…which costs the U.S. very little, yet no money is returned. They get no “number” that puts them in the so-called “line” to come in order. It is a random yes or no. Come pay again sometime…maybe you’ll get a yes next time.

    There is NO “line” as so many reference to make their piety feel comfortable. They then are able to wash their hands of the responsibility to elect officials that will repair this horribly broken, so-called, system.

    Envision: Family goes to see “LES MISERABLE”. Spends $400 on tickets on Broadway. The story, Jean Val Jean steals a loaf of bread to feed his starving family. He pays a horrific price for the transgression. Javair trails him for years, insisting Val Jean pay to the utter end of his days…for the act of trying to survive–against the myriad of unjust laws of the land. There is no forgiveness, nor mercy.

    Envision: Family comes out of theater, in tears…”Oh, so sad that (those people) could be so cold-hearted. The next day, failing to apply the same love and compassion that was lacking in this story, they condemn the illegal immigrant, who often is guilty of just such a crime…crossing a border to survive.

    Response: Who is it that you put your trust in? To the good Brother who lost a family member to the drunk Mexican National…my prayers to your family, however, we do not know the workings of the Lord…is it possible that this family member was to go back home to the Father…regardless of who, or by what means it happened? And that many many lessons, trials, tests, and mercies are to be afforded by Heavenly Father’s perfect plan? Not only for your family member, but for the man that hit him?

    There is NOTHING the Lord cannot turn to our good. There is no immigrant that the Lord can’t care for, or guide to come, go, stay, or trod where the Lord sees fit. And our Nation, will weather whatever storm, trial and event, that can possibly transpire…if the people are filled with Charity, love, compassion, forgiveness, empathy, welcoming arms. Each person, on any side of any border is our brother or sister. No laws of the land erase that commandment to love our neighbor as ourselves, nor the Golden Rule: Do unto others, as you would have done unto you.

    We have too much. We are spoiled beyond the riches of the Kings of this world. We would do well to rethink much of our approach to our fellow man. To all of the illegal immigrants, God bless you, I pray you will be able to find the truth of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, and live by its teachings! Love you!

  9. We need a button to edit our statements…(grin) Pardon my typos…I neglected to proof-read my last entry. sorry.

  10. Check this out from the SL Tribune:

    “President Barack Obama’s outline for immigration reform matches the values of the Mormon faith, according to Dieter F. Uchtdorf, second counselor in the LDS Church’s governing First Presidency.”

    President Uchtdorf represented the Church at a meeting with 13 other faith leaders and President Obama to discuss immigration reform. President Uchtdorf referred to the Utah Compact as a “pillar” of the immigration reform movement.

    I think this shows that the First Presidency is most definitely supportive of reforms that many of the conservatives on this site oppose. I think this adds a lot more support that my article’s premise is scriptural and aligned with the leadership of the current Church leadership. Time to re-evaluate?

    Read the article at:

    http://www.sltrib.com/sltrib/politics/55974230-90/church-faith-immigrants-immigration.html.csp

    1. Yeah, and President Uchtdorf also said,

      “And, to be perfectly frank, there have been times when members or leaders in the Church have simply made mistakes. There may have been things said or done that were not in harmony with our values, principles, or doctrine.” (General Conference, October 2013)

      As always, we are supposed to consider authority — no one General Authority has a right to speak unilaterally in official behalf of the Church — and the measuring stick of bona fide, established doctrine.

      No, illegal immigration is NOT right.

  11. I agree. There are those who believe that immigration is an economic loss to us, but it is not. Immigration is a net gain.
    If your government gives them freebees, is that their fault or your government’s fault?
    Socialism is bad wherever it rears its ugly head, but the proper response is to hold your government accountable. You are wasting your time to blame immigrants. You should blame the pump, not the bucket.
    We are all immigrants, and the D&C clarifies that the Constitution is for ALL flesh. See section 101.

  12. I’m a little concerned that you’ve made the basis of opposition to immigration enforcement a duty of benevolence to immigrants, instead of the pure principle that these individual humans should be free to exist, trade and sell their labor, free of an external threat of force for doing so. Doesn’t this open the door to make gov’t policies the means of such benevolence? What if it can be demonstrated that immigration enforcement is more benevolent in a situation despite what the individual immigrant wants? What if enforcement can be done benevolently? Would it then be acceptable?

    Also, what do you make of the recent statements by Uchtdorf after his meeting with Obama that immigration enforcement “absolutely must be enforceable law” ?

  13. I, like Mike, would refer to section 101:77 “the constitution…should be maintained….for the rights and protection of all flesh.” I would submit that the principles of liberty apply liberally to all mankind. Nations-states and borders are imaginary lines drawn by power seeking governments. The reductio ad absurdum (an argument taken to its logical conclusion) of borders and nations is merely the area that a government has the power to tax. Taxation, when reduced to a logical conclusion, is purely theft and plunder. So to those who suffer from the “they’re takin our jobs” syndrome I would submit this rational argument; who is taking jobs, the illegals who do the arduous labor (freeing up other labor for capital innovations) or the government who by overtaxation is taking incentives away from those who produce and create jobs?

    Is the United States just one giant labor union where citizenship and taxes are union dues? Perhaps a lot of the illegal immigration controversy can be cleared up by a simple understanding of basic economics. Let’s take the “buy local” argument for instance. The crux of this argument is that if we buy at local ma and pa stores it will strengthen the local economy. If Walmart comes in and out competes the local grocery store this is somehow “bad”. This logic is inherently flawed and represents a misunderstanding of the international division of labor spoken of in Adam Smith’s Wealth of Nations. If we didn’t have international trade we would ALL starve to death. The free market is how man makes voluntary exchanges that represent mutual gains. If one had to specialize in everything….., shoe making, farming, steel production, mining, construction, oil refinery, etc, he would be a jack of all trades master of none. His standard of living would be one of mere subsistence much like the hunter, gatherer existence. Whereas international trade allows innovation and specialization, and when combined with an honest means of exchange (money) this tends to drive up standards of living exponentially. A person can specialize in one thing and still have the benefits of whats offered on the market through his gain and savings. The best part is all of this can be achieved without government compulsion. Free trade is the mainspring of human civilization. Government force and compulsion are archaic and barbaric.

    Now lets take this “buy local” argument to its logical conclusion. S0 Walmart comes in so we keep our business at the local grocery store. But wait the grocery store serves an entire section of town so lets take our business to our neighbor who has a big garden and is selling to just our neighborhood. Hold on a minute this is taking jobs away from my children who could be employed by me tending our own garden. Now I have isolated myself from society and the benefits of exchanging with my fellow men. I have to grow all of my own food. This takes all of my time and my standard of living plummets. This is the standard doctrine of unions, tariffs, and protectionist policies that destroy free trade. We are just hurting ourselves while certain politically-connected businesses profit and are able to raise their prices because competition is limited.

    So why keep the illegals out? All they want to do the mundane and arduous labor, freeing up others to engage in more capital investment and innovations. Besides there is no such thing as stealing a job. No one owns their job. A job is a voluntary contract between employee and employer and as such can be terminated by either party at any time. Human wants and needs are not limited and scarcity will always exist regardless of how high our standards of living are. We will always want more. This is not greed or avarice as the left would have us believe….. it is simple human nature. If we are just supposed to settle for mediocrity then why would God promise mansions in heaven to those who are faithful?

    And on another note…. The Lamanites are a remnant of Jacob (3 Nephi 21:12–22), and they are promised, along with the Gentiles (Us), an inheritance in the promised land. And in fact if we, the Gentiles, do not repent, they will be among us, “in the midst of them as a lion among the beasts of the forest, as a young lion among the flocks of sheep, who, if he go through both treadeth down and teareth in pieces, and none can deliver.”

    So who are we to tell the Lord who will be allowed to come into His promised land? The Lord goes on to say that He will “destroy thy chariots (maybe vehicles),… and throw off they strongholds…..they graven images I will also cut off (the State that we worship)… so will I destroy they cities.”

    “But if they will repent and hearken unto my words, and harden not their hearts, I will establish my church among them, and they shall come in unto the covenant and be numbered among this the remnant of Jacob, unto whom I have given this land for their inheritance.”

    This land is promised to Euphraim and Manessah who are both a remnant of Jacob. No immigration law will keep out whom the Lord has promised it to.

  14. I have personally seen the destructive effects of illegal immigration and what it has done to our countries financial well being and moral fabric. In some states it has overcrowded their jails and have plagued communities with the same violence and evil these foreign nationals have fled from. I know god to be a person of order, laws, and consequence. The people who have come here illegally be it for a good reason or not have come here knowing they are violating our laws and are well aware of their actions utilizing their free agency to do so. If i broke into your house taking your money”taxes”, personal belongings “welfare, social security,Medicare”, or violated the laws of the land which you abide by to “feed my family ” would I still be able to get my temple recommend. I love my brothers and sisters from other countries and feel bad for the ones who have to deal with the bad policies and politics of their country but it is no excuse for them to ignore the rules of my house. We are all children of god and are all equally held to the same standards and it is time for the godless communists one world order Fabian socialists liberals to be tempered by their own fire.

  15. Bro. West, I know you are a man inspired by God and you will be blessed!! Thanks so much for your wise writings. I love all your analysis, they are very well thought.

    “The genius of America lies in its capacity to forge a single nation from peoples of remarkably diverse racial, religious, and ethnic origins…The steady movement of American life has been from exclusion to inclusion. –Arthur Schlesinger, Jr.

    For other comments:
    “I remind you that no man who makes disparaging remarks concerning those of another race can consider himself a disciple of Christ. Nor can he consider himself to be in harmony with the teachings of the Church of Christ.” President Gordon B. Hinckley, “The Need for Greater Kindness,” Ensign, May 2006, 58–61

  16. I have to say that I find your reasoning on this article quite unsatisfying. No, I was flat out STUNNED. I came here looking for GOSPEL CENTERED FREEDOM ARTICLES. Instead I find a screed lambasting all of us who believe in secure borders. Our southern border is not just some arbitrary line. It is a line mutually agreed on by two nations (well, two nations AND a republic) after a military dispute. The victors, we the Americans and the Republic of Texas, claim all land north of the line as OURS. We established the border the old fashioned way: People fought and died for it. As a veteran I find your attitude toward that sacrifice as well as the historically established FACT of the border to be highly dismissive and insulting. The people you are defending are mostly unwitting “boots on the ground” occupation forces. If even a small percentage of them rise up simultaneously on signal, as the Nation of Aztlan expects to do within the decade, the damage they could inflict before they could be stopped would be quite literally catastrophic. As it is they drain tens of billions of our dollars annually and much of it goes back to Mexico.

    Beyond this, your claims that the national government has no jurisdiction over border issues is ridiculous. You can make all the claims you want about the lack of legitimacy of the federal government controlling immigration but they ring hollow in light of the FACTS that the federal government does indeed control (more lately mandate failure to control) the borders. If the states did have total control over their borders you can bet that there would be some serious fences and patrolling along the Mexican border. And likely MASSIVE deportation.

    No nation can survive high sustained immigration without severe consequences. The people of Mexico have a corrupt, evil government that has allowed a civil war to begin between them and the cartels. That is not our responsibility. If these immigrants weren’t mostly looking for the easy way out they would stay home and fight there for a better government. They most certainly will not fix their government from here. But if they are allowed to stay, and to increase their numbers they will not fail to complete the destruction of OUR government.

    Your twisted definition of compassion leaves me fearing for your spiritual welfare. You appear to have more compassion for those that have and continue to violate our laws than those who live here legally. Yes, accidents of birth are sometimes sad. Some are born in America, some in Mexico. Some in India or China or name your hell-hole. We absolutely do not have the wealth or resources to bring them all here and care for them. We ARE going to run out of money, fuel, food, room and medical supplies and equipment before we can do so. We do best when we take care of our own FIRST.

    As for a Bishop and a Stake President giving a temple recommend to an individual that has and is violating borders, that would be akin to giving a temple recommend to someone that refuses to pay federal income taxes because they are “unconstitutional”. Or to someone that owns guns after having lost that right. Somewhere in Nevada is a Bishop and a Stake President whom for some reason have not excommunicated Harry Reid. The mantle sits more firmly on some Bishops and Stake Presidents than it does on others.

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