LDS church calls for ‘hope and opportunities’ for ‘Dreamers’

FILE: The LDS Church's Salt Lake City Temple.

SALT LAKE CITY — The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints issued a statement Friday calling on national leaders “to create policies that provide hope and opportunities” for young undocumented immigrants.

“The Church does not advocate any specific legislative or executive solution,” the statement said.

In 2012, the Obama administration implemented the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, which, under certain conditions, protects some young immigrants from deportation and allows them to legally work in the United States.

Those immigrants are sometimes referred to as “Dreamers” because they would have received similar protections under the Development, Relief and Education for Alien Minors (DREAM) Act, which was proposed, but never approved, in Congress.

The Trump administration rescinded DACA last September, and DACA protections are set to expire March 5.

On Thursday, Trump proposed a framework to give 1.8 million young immigrants, including those protected by DACA, a path to U.S. citizenship in exchange for $25 billion in funding for a wall along the Mexico-United States border and immigration reforms.

“Our hope is that, in whatever solution emerges, there is provision for strengthening families and keeping them together. We also acknowledge that every nation has the right to enforce its laws and secure its borders and that all persons subject to a nation’s laws are accountable for their acts in relation to them. We welcome the sincere efforts of lawmakers and leaders to seek for solutions that honor these principles and extend compassion to those seeking a better life,” the LDS church’s statement said.

Read the full statement below:

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is established in 188 nations around the globe. Issues of immigration and legal status are of concern for many of our members. Most of our early Church members emigrated from foreign lands to live, work and worship, blessed by the freedoms and opportunities offered in this great nation.

Immigration is a complex and sometimes divisive issue. As we have stated before, we believe that our first priority is to love and care for one another as Jesus Christ taught. Each nation must determine and administer its policies related to immigration. The Church does not advocate any specific legislative or executive solution. Our hope is that, in whatever solution emerges, there is provision for strengthening families and keeping them together. We also acknowledge that every nation has the right to enforce its laws and secure its borders and that all persons subject to a nation’s laws are accountable for their acts in relation to them.

We welcome the sincere efforts of lawmakers and leaders to seek for solutions that honor these principles and extend compassion to those seeking a better life. Specifically, we call upon our national leaders to create policies that provide hope and opportunities for those, sometimes referred to as “Dreamers,” who grew up here from a young age and for whom this country is their home. They have built lives, pursued educational opportunities and been employed for years based on the policies that were in place. These individuals have demonstrated a capacity to serve and contribute positively in our society, and we believe they should be granted the opportunity to continue to do so.

Rep. Mia Love issued the following response:

“As a member of Congress dedicated to finding an immigration and DACA solution, I would like to thank the leaders of the LDS church for their statement this morning. Strengthening and keeping families together is also of utmost importance to me, and I applaud their encouragement to seek a balance between compassion and border security. I recently met with the President to discuss solutions about how to move forward on immigration and I look forward to having a seat at the table and working with my colleagues in the House on immigration legislation. I am committed to finding immigration solutions this year, to move this issue forward. This is the commitment I made to the constituents in my district.”