Immigration in Our Lovely Deseret

With the politics of immigration roiling at least two Book-of-Mormon-belt states—Arizona, where LDS Church member Russell Pearce is ready to introduce new legislation targeting children of undocumented immigrants, and Utah, where Provo representative Stephen Sandstrom is reportedly drafting state legislation modeled on Arizona’s SB 1070—the Deseret News, a daily newspaper owned by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, today published a worthy feature article “Fact or fiction? The myths and realities of illegal immigration” presenting fact-based findings by four Deseret News reporters addressing and in several cases debunking the alleged impacts of undocumented immigration on crime, employment, education, taxes, and health care.

First published in 1850 in the provisional state of Deseret (later renamed Utah territory), the Church-owned Deseret News is read by many Mormons living beyond the state of Utah and held in special regard as an especially authoritative “Mormon” take on the news.

Sensitivity to immigration issues among Mormons—Anglo, Latino, and otherwise—is heightened by the fact that the Church’s strongest growth in the U.S. over the last decade has been among Latino populations and that worldwide almost 4.5 million LDS Church members are Spanish-speaking.

The LDS Church’s official stance on immigration holds that immigration policy is the “province of government” but urges “compassion and careful reflection” in matters affecting immigrants and their families.

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