Saturday, September 19, 2009

Mormons In The 111th Congress: Where LDS Lawmakers Stand On Immigration

The latest effort at immigration reform promoted by Utah U.S. Senator Bob Bennett triggered my interest on where members of Congress who are also members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints stand on immigration issues, since Senator Bennett himself is LDS.

In case you are not familiar, Senator Bennett has introduced a bill entitled the "Fairness In Representation Act", which would require the U.S. Census Bureau to collect information on the citizenship status of respondents. The primary purpose of the bill is to prevent illegal immigrants from inflating a state's population totals to the point to where they would get additional U.S. House seats as a result. That's only fair, since the Census Bureau won't count American LDS missionaries deployed abroad, a decision which screwed Utah out of a fourth U.S. House seat in 2000. It's uncertain whether it could be passed and implemented in time for the 2010 census, but could be applied in all future census determinations. The bill is currently co-sponsored by Sens. Mike Enzi (R-WY), Mike Crapo (R-ID), and Jim Bunning (R-KY); Crapo is also LDS.

If you want your Senators to co-sponsor this bill, you'll find contact information for U.S. Senators available HERE.

NumbersUSA has been tracking and grading U.S. lawmakers over a period of many years. Their standards and ratings are consistent and can be considered reliable. To view the grades assigned to all lawmakers, click HERE, then click on the name of the lawmaker of interest. The grades of LDS lawmakers are posted below. Click on the lawmaker's name to go to the official Congressional website, and on the grades to go to the raw data, which is current as of September 18th, 2009:

(1). U.S. Senate:
-- Michael Crapo (R-ID): Career grade A-, Recent grade A
-- Harry Reid (D-NV): Career grade C-, Recent grade F-
-- Tom Udall (D-NM): Career grade D, Recent grade D-
-- Bob Bennett (R-UT): Career grade C-, Recent grade C-
-- Orrin Hatch (R-UT): Career grade C+, Recent grade B

(2). U.S. House:
-- Jeff Flake (R-AZ): Career grade C, Recent grade C
-- Wally Herger (R-CA): Career grade A, Recent grade B+
-- Howard McKeon (R-CA): Career grade A, Recent grade A
-- Mike Simpson (R-ID): Career grade B, Recent grade B
-- Dean Heller (R-NV): Career grade A, Recent grade A
-- Rob Bishop (R-UT): Career grade B, Recent grade B
-- Jason Chaffetz (R-UT): Career grade A+, Recent grade A+
-- Jim Matheson (D-UT): Career grade C+, Recent grade B+
-- Eni Faleomavaega (non-voting delegate from American Samoa): Not listed, because he doesn't cast votes on bills

Most LDS lawmakers are fairly strong on immigration issues. The variability tends to reflect party differences; the LDS Church, despite its belief in the 12th Article of Faith, which states, "We believe in being subject to kings, presidents, rulers, and magistrates, in obeying, honoring, and sustaining the law", maintains a benign neutrality on immigration issues, pursuing a "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" attitude, particularly when it comes to calling elders for missionary service.

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