-- President Dieter F. Uchtdorf, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, Salt Lake City, UT
-- Dr. Noel Castellanos, CEO, Christian Community Development Association, Chicago, IL
-- Luis Cortes, President, Esperanza, Philadelphia, PA
-- JoAnne Lyon, General Superintendent, The Wesleyan Church, Indianapolis, IN
-- Dr. Russell Moore, Southern Baptist Convention, Nashville, TN
-- Suzii Paynter, Executive Coordinator, Cooperative Baptist Fellowship, Atlanta, GA
The KSL website also lists Rev Geoffrey Black, General Minister and President, United Church of Christ, Cleveland, OH, as being present, but his name is not on the White House press release. Also present to "hold Obama's hand", so to speak, were a couple of his official minders; Valerie Jarrett, Senior Advisor to the President, and Melissa Rogers, Executive Director, White House Office of Faith-based and Neighborhood Partnerships.
According to the official White House press release, the religious leaders shared with President Obama stories about the impact the failure to fix the immigration system has on families in their congregations and communities. President Uchtdorf went a bit further, calling for more action to secure religious freedom and liberties around the globe. In response, Obama expressed deep concern about the pain too many families feel from the separation that comes from our broken immigration system, and said that only Congress can produce a lasting solution. All participants expressed their longstanding commitment to immigration reform as a moral imperative and pledged to continue to urge Congress to act on reform as soon as possible.
Later on, during an interview outside the West Wing, President Uchtdorf offered additional insight:
"There are many programs and actions that the president or the administration is standing for, for which we have opposing views. ...In regard to this with immigration, we certainly hope that a values-based, balanced approach to this reform is coming about and not being delayed by small things, which can be resolved by common consent and common sense. And we hope that this time around the communities and the nation pull together and find a solution to this problem, which could be resolved in a Christian ... way."
The LDS Church also published official reaction through the Mormon Newsroom website. The Church reiterated its support for the three principles of the Utah Compact as a responsible approach to dealing with the complex issue of immigration reform. The foundational principles on which the Church’s position is based are:
-- We follow Jesus Christ by loving our neighbors. The meaning of ‘neighbor’ includes all of God’s children, in all places, at all times.
-- We recognize an ever-present need to strengthen families. Families are meant to be together. Forced separation of working parents from their children weakens families and damages society.
-- We acknowledge that every nation has the right to enforce its laws and secure its borders. All persons subject to a nation’s laws are accountable for their acts in relation to them.
Some additional reaction from a couple of the participants was documented by the Daily Caller. In regards to impact of additional immigrants on actual Americans, JoAnne Lyon said the subject did not come up, and she sidestepped the issue by saying that additional employment will generate more taxes for government. Dr. Noel Castellanos took the same tack, noting that many store-owners in Chicago are undocumented. He claimed that bringing all those people out of the shadows and into the general economy would create a greater economic resource. However, skeptics say the Senate’s June 2013 immigration bill, which is being used as the defining standard, would sharply increase the inflow of immigrants and low-wage guest workers -- up to 40 million -- over the following decade. Americans interested in holding members of Congress accountable on immigration can find Congressional scorecards at Numbers USA.
What it would do for the estimated twenty million Americans who are unemployed or underemployed remains to be seen. It is suspicious that it is primarily progressives and business leaders are pushing this so-called "commonsense immigration reform". Nevertheless, it's always a plus when the senior leadership of the LDS Church is invited to participate in discussions with high-level political leaders on important issues of the day.