Sutherland Institute Applauds New LDS Church Statement on Immigration

For Immediate Release: June 10, 2011

SALT LAKE CITY — Over the last several years, Sutherland Institute has supported a sensible, reality-based approach to solving Utah’s complex immigration issues that, at a fundamental level, recognizes undocumented immigrants as human beings. Today, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints issued a new statement casting the issue in a similar light:

“The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is concerned that any state legislation that only contains enforcement provisions is likely to fall short of the high moral standard of treating each other as children of God.”

Sutherland Institute fully supports the LDS Church’s position regarding undocumented immigrants as an example of what we regard as sound conservative philosophy. In today’s statement, the LDS Church continues its long tradition of honoring prudence as a guiding principle in public affairs:

“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.”

Implicit in the LDS Church’s statement emphasizing undocumented immigrants as human beings, equal in dignity and respect with any person, is its portrayal of the rule of law as something deeper and richer in meaning than simply words on paper in a book. For a law to be just, it must reflect the realities of human nature, human experience and human behavior.

How Utahns address the issue of undocumented immigrants living in the state says more about us as citizens than it does about the immigrants as residents. In a 2009 address at the Cache County Lincoln Day Dinner, Sutherland Institute President Paul Mero said, “Sutherland has worked through this issue and concluded that the genuinely conservative thing to do about our neighbors, already here illegally, is to see them as we see ourselves. Because they’re human like we are – and not ‘criminals’ or ‘cheap labor’ – we can use our conservative reliance on human nature and human experience to help us do the right thing.”

Sutherland Institute is a conservative, state-based, independent public policy organization located in Salt Lake City. Its mission: protecting the cause of freedom, constructively influencing Utah’s decision makers, and promoting responsible citizenship. Sutherland Institute is recognized as the leading conservative think tank in the state of Utah.