Interesting piece the other day in the Provo Herald:
Immigration and Religion
They note, as I did in an earlier post, that the church’s position on immigration is so far from the position of right-wing members that it could potentially cause a “schism” (their word, not mine) among members. But they include a timeline of events that shows clearly how most people in the church will adjust their positions to align with the church’s position, no matter how passionately they feel about it.
• Two weeks ago, Salt Lake County Republicans held a convention of delegates. On the agenda was a proposed resolution calling for the repeal of HB 116, the immigration reform bill passed by the Utah Legislature creating a permit system that would allow illegal immigrants to work legally within the state.
The repeal resolution was introduced late in the evening, after many delegates had gone home. The remaining delegates tended to be anti-immigrant, and the measure passed.
• A few days later, the LDS Church issued a formal statement on its website stating clearly that it approved of the philosophical underpinnings of HB 116. It went on to say that its position on immigration reform was being “distorted” by opponents of the bill, and that it would speak further if necessary.
We suppose the church thought its position had been made clear enough by the attendance of Presiding Bishop H. David Burton at the signing ceremony.
• Two days after the church’s statement was released, the executive committee of the Utah County Republican Party considered the repeal resolution. It failed by a 2-1 margin.
• Shortly thereafter, Republican delegates in Davis County met in convention. The repeal resolution failed by roughly the same margin.
• Then Republicans in Weber County met in convention. They refused to allow the repeal resolution to be introduced.
Now the word on the street is that Republicans in Salt Lake County desperately want a redo. Their timing in passing the repeal resolution was, well … awkward.
In Provo on Tuesday night a town hall meeting was held for delegates of Senate District 16 — Sen. Curt Bramble’s district. Many delegates were in attendance, including a number who have opposed the LDS Church’s stand — Keri Witte, Rep. Chris Herrod of Provo and others. Given the opportunity to learn details of the new law by asking questions of Bramble (HB 116’s chief architect), not a single question was asked.
The silence was deafening. Up to now, the anti-immigrant agitators have held that the LDS Church had left plenty of philosophical room for good Mormons to oppose HB 116.
Herrod, an ardent advocate of an “enforcement” approach, has stood in opposition to the LDS Church on a regular basis and in fact was the point person for repeal at the Utah County executive committee meeting. But not Tuesday. On Tuesday he was silent.
I support the church’s position on HB116 and other common-sense approaches to immigration, but I am fascinated by how this has all played out.