For the past few years, church leaders and members have been taking advantage of social media. By using the tools of our social media era, members have been able to spread messages about the church throughout the world. Most members know the #sharegoodness or #becausehelives campaign, but recently a new campaign has gathered steam. #Togetherwithoutborders is a social media push for members to look for common sense solutions to immigration concerns in the United States. Although it has gathered steam, more people need to be aware of it.
The church’s stance on immigration reform has been well documented, but is surprising for some members, especially those with staunchly Republican leanings. Rarely does the church issue political statements, but in 2011 issued a declaration calling for widespread reform of the immigration system. Here are some major highlights.
In reference to plans about mass deportation, our leaders have said:
What to do with the estimated 12 million undocumented immigrants now residing in various states within the United States is the biggest challenge in the immigration debate. The bedrock moral issue for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is how we treat each other as children of God.
The history of mass expulsion or mistreatment of individuals or families is cause for concern especially where race, culture, or religion are involved. This should give pause to any policy that contemplates targeting any one group, particularly if that group comes mostly from one heritage.
This is a clear statement that shows why we should be concerned with any sort of plan that calls for mass deportation or uprooting people who are already in the United States. The main concern is keeping families together, without having to resort to targeting families within the United States. This challenge must be addressed in careful ways.
The Church supports an approach where undocumented immigrants are allowed to square themselves with the law and continue to work without this necessarily leading to citizenship.
In furtherance of needed immigration reform in the United States, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints supports a balanced and civil approach to a challenging problem, fully consistent with its tradition of compassion, its reverence for family, and its commitment to law.
While this statement was issued back in 2011, church leaders reaffirmed their commitment to sensible immigration reform in 2014 when President Uchtdorf and other religious leaders met with President Barack Obama. These religious leaders discussed various concerns and solutions to immigration reform. After the meeting, President Uchtdorf stated:
In many ways we sometimes disagree, but on this matter, common-sense immigration reform, we all agree. We hope the gospel principles of faith, hope and charity will apply to any solution.
Now whether President Obama made correct decisions on immigration reform is a hot topic and one that elicits strong reactions from both sides. But, we must remember that the church leaders have told us to support immigration reforms, and a member of our First Presidency was impressed with the executive branch’s actions in this regard.
Anybody who has paid attention to the news knows that immigration has once again become a big issue. Lead by presidential candidate Donald Trump, politicians have taken bolder partisan stances on the issue of immigration, and once again Latter Day Saints need to decide where they stand. While it is impossible to agree with a politician on all issues, we need to make sure that we are following the council of our own leaders and speaking against policies that would either target individual ethnic groups or support deportation that would break up families.
That is what #Togetherwithoutborders is about. There are good Latter Day Saint families that will be effected by decisions on immigration, and we need to be aware of that. When we are discussing reforms, we need to remember that the actions of politicians could be actually separating families in a very real and very physical way, contrary to what church leaders have said.
Go look at this hashtag on Instagram and Twitter and see the stories of good faithful Latter Day Saints. It will be an eye opening experience.