Comments about ‘Immigration officials may deport Mormon branch president and family’

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Published: Friday, April 29 2011 12:00 p.m. MDT

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Hey It's Me
Salt Lake City, UT

Many people here are saying you're not a good Christian if you don't have compassion and love for illegals. . .I don't believe that wanting people to follow the law is unchristian or why would we have them? There would be mass confusion without laws. We split families every day when we send criminals of any color or ethnicity to jail for a crime. Dad's and moms, sons and daughters are taken from their families to pay the price for their crime. So be it. . . they made the choice to break the law. It doesn't mean they are a horrible person . . . they made the choice now suffer the consequences. This pertains to anyone breaking any law!

Iowa City, IA

This isn't a story about the LDS church if it is people are very hypocritical, I'm real sure other faiths with latino congregations deal with the same thing.

Where the real problems lies is in the decades of implied consent from government officials towards illegal immigrants coming into the country. We also know factually that the Obama administration is dealing guns to Mexican drug cartels. So the issue is complex and frankly dirty and in some cases devious.

We need solutions not hypocritical or myopic finger pointing. The churches stance is a humane approach to a complex problem.

Murray, Ut

The Church is not saying to ignore borders. After all God created borders and the Nations. And they want the borders strengthened.

They are advocating amnesty as a show of loving they neighbor and to keep families together. This is the problem, many believe the time to accomplish this was when the people were coming here illegally. Now it cannot be done without great harm to society.

We must remember that those who came here illegally had the responsibility to love they neighbor, and chose instead to break into his land, steal his job, and steal his identities.

Families are broke up all the time when laws are enforced. The people made that choice. Counseling before they did it would of helped.

Are people being counseled now to stop breaking the law? to prevent this in the future? If not, then they they are ignoring the long term solution.

Let's be real
Salt Lake City, UT

This becomes offensive when I see Mormon on the title. Come on reporters. If you do such then please publish the most prominent title of each person detained by ICE, including thier religion. Now, like I have always said it is normally reported that "this poor indigent, hard working, religious, tax paying, wanting to get his kids the best life has to get, etc etc etc" position has to go. He, and his family were all here illegally. Period. Laws are for EVERYONE, not just the normal joe citizen. I do not care if he is a mormon, jew, catholic, or nigerian. Come here legally or get out. It is that simple.

Salt Lake City, UT

We have hundreds, maybe thousands, of non-productive criminal illegals in this country and we deport someone like this? ICE is cowardly and just plain wrong.

E. Matscheko
St. George, UT

What an example; Felix Joaquin Callejas-Hernandez, a LDS president, an official, a leader, a "role model" repeatedly disregarding our great nation's laws, more than once!
Not for a minute do I believe that this is the message the Church intends to send to its members and investigators.
Then LDS Church spokesman Scott Trotter refers in his statement to 'love they neighbor', ...keeping families intact, and the federal government's obligation to secure its border".
I totally believe in the teachings of the Church, but nowhere in the Churches teachings can I find anything about "federal government securing its borders". More important, in its "Articles of Faith", the church teaches "WE BELIEVE in being subjects to kings, presidents, rulers, and magistrates, IN OBEYING, HONORING, AND SUSTAINING THE LAW."
Mr. Callejas-Hernandez follow the Churches teachings, repent, obey our great nation's laws, and return with your entire family to El Salvador, where you must continue to teach the Gospel. Meanwhile, I shall pray for you and your family.

Orem, UT

An earlier poster stated that the solution to immigration woes was simple, but government lacked the gumption to do it. I agree. Here is what needs to be done, in order:

1. Secure the borders. Yes, build "the wall".

2. Create a national ID card that is very difficult to counterfeit and must be renewed. Even poor Latin American countries have these.

3. Make it a lot easier for non-criminals to immigrate legally.

As for those already here, focus on those those committing criminal acts other than their immigration violation. Too late to round everybody up.

Without steps 1 and 2, nothing else will work.

Seek to understand
Sandy, UT

I support the LDS church and the Utah Compact. We need to fix our laws. We must allow compassion to be our first motivation. WE are responsible for allowing illegal immigration to happen by creating an environment where it is very easy and makes a lot of sense for people to come here. WE must be willing to "pay the consequence" by welcoming and making legal the families who are currently here due to our lack of a system that is clear and enforceable.

Hopefully, these challenges will move us toward an immigration policy that is reasonable and enforceable. Due to the the problems we are currently experiencing, a pressure is being developed that will hopefully bring both sides to the table where good laws and enforceable policies will be enacted. If not, and we choose to keep posturing and fighting instead, then at least at this point we are allowing most families to remain intact and work here free from the oppression of their native countries without the damage this family is experiencing.

I hope everyone will be willing to learn about compromise and let's get this issue solved.

The Final Word
Alpine, UT

I am LDS AND I was Canadian when I was married to my US citizen wife 14 years ago. Now I am a US citizen after many long years as a LEGAL resident alien and eventually after all the years of paperwork and fees I am a US citizen of two years.

The US govt wanted me to stay in Canada and threatened criminal prosecution if I even visited my wife in the US before the legal paperwork was completed. Of course Canada was threatening the same thing in reverse and did not want my wife living with me in Canada illegally.

I guess I don't understand why the Church was not advocating for me back then to just come here illegally 15 years ago as long as I served faithfully in my church calling.

Maybe I needed to be poor and from a Latin-American country?

Come to think of it I am pretty sure our articles of faith remain the same today as it was then...honoring, obeying, and sustaining the law.

I followed the law and everyone else should to until/if/when the law is changed.

No exceptions.

Provo, UT

This particular case has nothing to do with "securing borders." This gentleman and his family came into this country legally under political asylum. Their applications to renew their visas were denied. In other words: the system failed.

This is precisely why the GOP's "enforcement only" solutions are inadequate.

murray, utah

it shouldnt matter what faith a illegal immagrant is if they are here illegall they should be deported . one of the rules is we must obey the rules of the land . if we dont this is a sin itself .

Viva la Migra
American Fork, UT

I don't see this as a failure of our immigration laws. This family came into the country but tried to obtain a visa waiver they didn't qualify for. After being denied, the judge issued an order, telling them to leave the country. Instead of obeying the law, they choose to stay. Maybe someone told them to stay, hoping for another amnesty or something, but the bottom line is they took a risk, and after three years, the government arrested them and will apparently deport them.

This sounds very similar to the other family (the stained glass mekers) profiled recently who tried the same thing, but were deported back home. It looks like there may be an immigration lawyer preying on the LDS Latino community, giving them false hope by applying for refugee visas they aren't qualified for, but also putting these families on the government radar. Perhaps this should be looked into by a reporter.

Orem, UT

MormonDem: Precisely. That's why a reasonable national ID system with strong anticounterfeiting features is needed. Many in the extreme right wing have always feared such systems as big-brotherism, but we will soon find it to be essential.

By the way, my suggestion to ease legal immigration includes revamping the political asylum so it is no longer a tool of foreign policy. I know a very capable engineer from El Salvador who ended up having to take his family to Canada even though he found out he was on the former right-wing government's "death list" in his home country. When his student visa ran out at BYU, he applied for asylum here and couldn't get it. Canada's gain - our loss.

And yes, we still need to build "the wall".

Tupelo, MS

Dear President Calllejas-Hernandez,

I am very sorry that America has forgotten that HUMANS are free to live where they wish, and pursue their freedom as they wish because they are HUMANS.

America no longer has an answer to the question, "Whence liberty?".

America now believes liberty depends on where you were born (and that loosely), not on actually being a HUMAN.

So, go try living a HUMAN's life somewhere else. America will no longer allow a HUMAN creed... as if it were hers to allow or disallow.

Gone is the motto, "Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness".

Entrenched is the catechism: Vox populi. Vox dei... or else!

So much for HUMAN liberty. So much for HUMANITY.

Idaho Falls, ID

I am very conservative but I believe there is room for compassion and practicality here.
How many of you, living in a very oppressed situation with a family to support would not seek a better opportunity for their family. And with the immigration laws here being so liberal, would you not seek that opportunity to improve the lives of your family? Sure, there are parasites and predators that come here illegally that should be deported, but do you honestly think it is practical and economical to deport the productive and "law-biding" sector of the immigrant population. It would be a huge expense and a huge impact on the economy, and create a lot of chaos.

The problem here is the U.S. Government's own making, not the illegal immigrants themselves. It's a mess, I know, but the logical, and right thing to do is secure the border, deport all who commit serious crimes (i.e, not a traffic ticket), and provide conditional amnesty to the productive and law-abiding.

As for me and my house, we stand by the position of the Prophet and the Brethren.

Orem, UT

Simple, but not easy, solution: Change existing laws to create a much easier path for the good guys to come and stay and a much more difficult path for bad guys to get here and stay. Some of you rightly emphasize the benefits of the "rule of law." Well, fortunately our sysem of laws allows us to change the bad laws. The problem here is bad immigration laws...not bad immigrants (a few posters seem to look for the laws to send all aliens home and discourage them from coming at all...that smacks of provincialism and unhealthy nationalism and protectionism...we're better than that and will not benefit from such "closed-system thinking). Let's fix the laws! We need legislators at all levels of government who are more interested in serving and doing what's right than in getting re-elected. There is little honor in "black and white," my-way-or-the-highway thinking. Thinking with feeling is OK. When laws are flawed and good people consistently choose to disobey them, we should consider changing them. We can do this, and we'll be better for it.

Murray, Ut

It's so simple to put the responsibility on others isn't it?

Those who chose to come here illegally instead of the legal way are responsible for being here.
Business who encouraged people to come here illegally share a lesser responsibility.
Organizations that encourage the illegal activity share responsibility.
America's people are not responsible for this. People rob banks every day, is America responsible for their actions?

It's not to late to enforce the laws, in fact it's the only option that solves the problem. Amnesty just delays it to the next generation. Under amnesty a person getting residency would have to compete with America citizens for jobs. Many would end up on welfare, as the next wave of illegal immigrants took their jobs.

See the problem? This country can only absorb so many people each year. With over a million legal residents and unlimited visas for agriculture the good guys have a path already.

Orem, UT

The responsibility is ours to change bad laws. I'm glad immigration quotas didn't exist when my ancestors came to America. And I'm glad my illegal immigrant Mormon ancestors were not deported when they settled in Mexican territory. JBrady, allow yourself to think practically and compassionately about how to solve the problems with our immigration system. If we remain rigid, we will become even more brittle. Our system is alrady broken. Quotas and laws, as well as methods of enforecment, should be constantly evaluated and amended to fit reality. That's the beauty of the rule of law in a representative democracy...the laws are subject to constant scrutiny and must be changed when they don't work. If you are an expert on immigration quotas, how they are established, and why they are absolutely correct as they are, enlighten us. But to say we have too many immigrants and we have no responsibility to make things better and to treat each other with compassion and reason, seems wrong to me. Just my .02. And I'm right, of course. :)

Jeffrey Wilbur
Eagle Mountain, UT

It's very interesting to me to see how many Mormons are seeing their religion come up against their politics on the issue of immigration, and are choosing to side with their politics.

I believe that says quite a lot.

Also, as far as the "honoring, obeying and sustaining the law" bit, the Church has always had a very complicated relationship with that. You only have to look at polygamy to see that.

The bottom line is that God's law trumps Man's law. It always has for religion, and always will. And, if your religion is true anyway, I would argue that it logically should be that way.

Murray, Ut

Immigration quotas are set each year according to a formula that takes unemployment into account.

It's cruel to let people in and tell them their are no jobs. Our country lets in more legal people each year than any other country, however our resources are limited. We can't open our doors to anyone who wants to come here from all over the world, when they choose. We have to have an orderly system that gives everyone in the world the same chance at a better life. Illegal immigration destroys this. It gives preferential treatment to those who can cross our borders. It shows a lack of compassion towards the rest of the worlds people. Compassion is a two way street, so far it's only running one way.

We were at war with Mexico when the Mormons came into this land. Remember the Mormon battalion? Gods law tells us not to steal, covet, or lie, and to obey the laws of the land.

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