Tuesday, March 15, 2011

LDS Church Presiding Bishop H. David Burton Puts Church's Stamp Of Approval Upon Four Controversial Immigration Bills Signed By Utah Governor Gary Herbert

The Presiding Bishop of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, H. David Burton, appeared to put the Church's stamp of approval upon four controversial immigration bills signed by Utah Governor Gary Herbert on March 15th, 2011. At the signing ceremony, Bishop Burton said, “Our presence here testifies to the fact that we are appreciative of what has happened in the Legislature this session. We feel the Legislature has done an incredible job on a very complex issue.” Salt Lake Tribune reporter Peggy Fletcher Stack suggested Burton's presence was no accident or private decision. KSL news video embedded below:

Video Courtesy of KSL.com

The bills as follows (click on the designation to read the actual text of the bill):

-- HB116: Originally entitled the Guest Worker Program Act, it was signed as the Utah Immigration Accountability and Enforcement Amendments. It basically establishes a guest worker program.

-- HB466: Entitled the Migrant Workers and Related Commission Amendments. Includes a migrant worker partnership with the state of Nuevo Leon in Mexico.

-- HB469: Entitled Immigration Related Amendments. Enacts the Utah Pilot Sponsored Resident Immigrant Program Act, and provides for the issuance of identification documents.

-- HB497: Entitled the Utah Illegal Immigration Enforcement Act, this started out as the Arizona-style law desired by Rep. Stephen Sandstrom (R-Orem). Originally a well-crafted law, Sandstrom was prevailed upon to water it down somewhat. Nevertheless, its most prominent and commendable provision requires that an officer verify the immigration status of a person arrested for a felony or a class A misdemeanor and a person booked for class B or C misdemeanors and requires that an officer attempt to verify immigration status for a person detained for a class B or C misdemeanor.

The Deseret News notes that the legislature's own attorneys have deemed the guest worker and immigrants sponsorship programs unconstitutional, meaning the state would need a waiver from the federal government to put them into practice.

One LDS lawmaker said the Church's support for these bills influenced him. Sen. Stuart Reid (R-Ogden) said “There is no question that the Utah Compact, with the church’s endorsement, made a significant difference to me and others in the Legislature who helped craft immigration legislation.” Senate President Mike Waddoups said the legislation was a testament to the give-and-take process of making laws. He also explained that the new laws did not grant amnesty nor would they result in racial profiling. The bills were not carbon copies of bills passed in Arizona, Oklahoma or Missouri. And House Speaker Rebecca Lockhart said she was proud of lawmakers who rolled up their sleeves and took on one of most vexing issues of the day amid intense criticism from people who had no answers of their own. Governor Herbert said, "Utah is doing the right thing, is doing the hard thing. Doing nothing is not an option".

But there's opposition. Arturo Morales-Llan, a GOP delegate, said in a statement that Herbert's signature of HB116 "is the worst insult the legal residents of Utah have ever received by their sitting governor! HB116 is typical Washington-style politics and we condemn its practice by our elected officials. This new law puts a stamp of approval on illegal immigration and those who come into this country illegally. This fatally flawed law confirms that Utah is a sanctuary state." An online petition to veto HB116, which was signed by 4,500 people, made it clear that they do not approve of HB116 and would rather see enforcement of laws against illegal immigration. Morales-Llan also said he would not believe the Church officially approved of these bills until he sees a statement from the First Presidency itself.

Ron Mortensen, an ardent opponent of illegal immigration, was also unhappy with the legislation, saying, “I am shocked that the church would support a bill that literally sacrifices 50,000 Utah children, who are the victims of identity theft, for the benefit of illegal aliens. The church has sent so many conflicting messages, I just don’t know where they are coming from.”

In the days preceding the signing, one of the noisiest immigration restrictionist groups, ALIPAC, has waged an all-out campaign to prevent these bills from being signed into law. However, ALIPAC didn't merely target lawmakers, but also targeted the LDS Church itself, a tactic which may have backfired. The LDS Church has been beset by a number of anklebiters from both sides of the immigration issue, and perhaps they decided they're done listening to anklebiters. ALIPAC has posted its reaction to the signing HERE and HERE.

Unofficial LDS member reaction is already showing up on the Bloggernacle, first on By Common Consent.


Anonymous said...

there is no separation of church and state in Utah?

Sheryl said...

Weird. This exact same post appears here on this White Supremacist web sight. http://whitereference.blogspot.com/

Guess we know which corner you're coming from.

Racism is a trap for the feeble minded.