A probable cause for Romney’s deep deceitfulness on illegal immigration: the Mormon Church is deeply invested in illegal immigration and is deceitful about it
Regarding “Romney’s dishonesty,” I’m glad you brought this up, because for some time now I’ve been trying to figure out what the Mormon hierarchy’s actual position on illegal immigration is. (And so have many law-abiding, white, native-born American LDS members.) Although the LDS leadership’s official stated position on illegal immigration is that it has no position on the issue, a Center For Immigration Studies research paper, “The Mormon Church and Illegal Immigration,” argues that despite such public statements calculated to maintain the perception of neutrality on this matter, the operating reality is far different. The entire paper is well worth reading, but as it is rather long, I’ve copied a couple of sections below that get to the heart of the matter: Scrolling halfway down the page to the section titled “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” (which is what the true church policy really amounts to), we come to these eye-opening paragraphs (bolded emphasis is mine):
Posted by Lawrence Auster at December 17, 2011 10:16 AM | Send
The Church’s support of illegal immigration is closely linked to its missionary efforts in the United States as well as to its overseas operations. As the Church found it more difficult to gain converts among American citizens, LDS officials increasingly focused the Church’s missionary activities on illegal immigrant communities.
Then we have this indication of the actual percentage of illegals now in the LDS:
An LDS stake president reported that he attended a meeting on May 26, 2006, where he and other stake presidents were instructed by their LDS area authority that the LDS brethren had made a decision that the church was no longer going to acknowledge country borders that man has set and that no local LDS leader should deny an undocumented member full temple privileges based solely on that person being illegally in the United States.
As explained by local and headquarters officials, the Church follows a “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy which allows it to baptize illegal aliens and to assign them to key positions in the Church in spite of their immigration status and job-related criminal activities.
As a result of the Church’s “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy, Brigham Young University history Professor Ignacio Garcia estimates that, nationwide, 70 percent of all Latino converts in the past 10 to 15 years are illegal immigrants. His estimate is supported by former LDS missionaries.
The LDS knew that it had to protect itself legally concerning this issue, and acted to do so:
Rebecca van Uitert, an immigration attorney in New York City who was a Spanish-speaking Mormon missionary in rural southern California from 1998 to 2000, told BYU’s campus newspaper that, “I look back on dozens of people we taught and baptized, and I personally can’t think of one who did have legal status. There were even some undocumented bishops and stake presidents. Basically, everyone was undocumented.”
[When] the Church recognized that it was walking a fine legal line with its “don’t ask don’t tell policy”, and as illegal aliens joined the Church in ever-greater numbers, the Church … had U.S. Sen. Robert Bennett covertly amend the U.S. immigration act in 2005 to protect it from possible violations of U.S. immigration law. Under Bennett’s amendment, churches were given legal immunity from immigration laws that make it a crime to house, transport, and provide stipends to illegal aliens …
There is a good deal more information about the history of the LDS in the paper (which is extensively footnoted), but these are the relevant quotes that will be of interest to VFR readers.
Once the Church had immunity, it was free to continue its missionary efforts among [illegals].
I agree with your statement that Romney’s position on the illegal immigration question is “devious and misleading.” The further connection to make is that he’s simply reflecting his own church leadership’s double-talking dishonesty on the issue, a case that the Center For Immigration Studies paper clearly and persuasively lays out. The most important takeaway from it is that for the last two decades the LDS hierarchy has been in the process of redefining its relationship with government at both the state and national levels on illegal immigration, its policies no longer necessarily determined by what is best for Utah or for the United States of America.