Obama discusses immigration reform with religious leaders

WASHINGTON – Religious leaders met with President Obama Friday to discuss immigration reform. Among them, President Deiter F. Uchtdorf, Second Counselor of the First Presidency of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

President Uchtdorf was one of 15 religious leaders invited to the meeting. President Obama’s reform bill is closely modeled after the Utah Compact, a declaration created in 2010 establishing five overall guidelines for the immigration discussing.

The goal of Friday’s meeting in Washington was to discuss the need to fix the broken immigration system so that everyone plays by the same rules.

According to the White House, President Obama thanked the church leaders for their commitment to the issue of immigration. Those leaders expressed their concerns on the impact the current system is having on their congregations.

The LDS Church has come out in support of immigration reform in the past. Most recently was in 2001. Then the Church issued a statement saying immigration is a moral issue and one that needs to be addressed with compassion.

Local Hispanic leaders say more religious leaders are taking a supportive position on immigration.

“To have faith leaders have a meeting and everyone that met with the president today come out strongly supporting this comprehensive plan, that’s a very good day for us,“ says Tony Yapias with Salt Lake City-based Proyecto Latino.

Yapias says there is still a lot to be done on the immigration reform front, but hopes positive messages from religious leaders will help find common ground on an issue that has proven to be divisive among political parties.

A full list of those in attendance at Friday’s meeting:

• Leith Anderson, National Association of Evangelicals
• Stephan Bauman, President and CEO, World Relief
• Bishop Minerva Carcaño, United Methodist Church
• Rev. Luis Cortés, President, Esperanza
• Barrett Duke, Southern Baptist Convention
• Bishop Orlando Findlayter, Senior Pastor, New Hope Christian Fellowship
• Archbishop José Horacio Gomez, Archdiocese of Los Angeles
• Mark Hetfield, President and CEO, Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society
• Rev. Kathryn Lohre, National Council of Churches
• Imam Mohamed Magid, President, Islamic Society of North America
• Rev. Samuel Rodriguez, President, National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference
• Rev. Gabriel Salguero, President, National Latino Evangelical Coalition
• Dieter Uchtdorf, Second Counselor, Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints
• Jim Wallis, President and CEO, Sojourners

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