Earlier, I had written about sustaining those whose political views substantially differ.  In that discussion, we decided that mere political differences were insufficient to disqualify one from a calling, but that we should object when those differences led to criminal conduct.  The argument, however, was where that point was.

Should a Tea Party member be disqualified because of alleged violence of some of its members?  Should opponents of President Obama’s health care plan be subject to Church discipline because this proves that they violate Church standards against racism, as Senator Reid [D-NV] suggests?

On the other side, should an SEIU member be punished because somebody in their ranks allegedly beat others who did not agree with SEIU support of President Obama, Speaker Pelosi, and Senator Reid’s policies?

Let me make a few things clear:

The USA is a nation of immigrants, and, in the aggregate, they are an unalloyed good for America. The fact that immigrants work demonstrates that they provide more value than what is given to them. No business would employ those who cost more than the value they provide. This added value is passed to American consumers in the form of more, cheaper , and better goods and services. As an aside that I will comment upon in another post, this is also the case for imports. Even if immigrants send almost all their income “home,” they still must eat, sleep, have shelter, wear clothes, travel to and from work (if not other places), and recreate. To do these, they must obtain the wherewithal, which is usually provided by citizens, and thus, they provide a market that sends capital to those citizens. The vast majority of immigrants are honest, hard-working, and self-sacrificing, and, in bringing these qualities with them, they inject America with needed doses of what make America strong.

For these reasons, I sincerely believe that America lets in far too few people who wish to come to America. I also did not support President Bush fils‘ “guest worker” proposal. While I have nothing against people coming here temporarily, I believe the length of stay should be determined, not by government, but by the workers and their employers.

I also am distressed by stories of immigrants–legal or not–who refuse to go to the authorities when they are victimized by criminals or evil employers. Nobody should have to endure continuous maltreatment for fear of worse from the Law.

Having said that, the same cannot always be said of illegal aliens. For one thing, it encourages a disrespect for law, which undermines the rule of law. In turn, this has deleterious effects on our nation’s economy–and a negative impact on the well-being of those who live here.

Moreover, as the Saviour put it, “VERILY, verily, I say unto you, He that entereth not by the door …, but climbeth up some other way, the same is a thief and a robber…. The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy…” [John 10:1, 10]. This is eloquently demonstrated by Mexican drug runners who cross the border to rob, rape, murder, and otherwise terrorize Americans and others. The lack of enforcement of immigration laws have resulted in those gangsters now controlling many square miles of Arizona. To counter this, Arizona passed a law directing ITS police to enforce US law.

No matter what one’s position is on Arizona’s action, the entire issue is a messy one, and sadly, it affects much more than just politics. For the record, I fully support the Church’s “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy; frankly, the Church doesn’t have the resources to doth both its “threefold mission” and enforce immigration laws. As I’ve stated elsewhere, the more an organization does what it is NOT supposed to do, the less able it is to do what it IS.

Furthermore, as I understand, when it becomes known that somebody is in the USA illegally, my Stake’s policy is–in addition to other ministry efforts, to help that person comply with the law. Again, I have no problem with this; illegal aliens, like other law-breakers, are in dire need of repentance and the atoning power of Jesus Christ. We would be derelict in our duties if we did not bring them these gifts. Of course if that person could not comply with the law, we helped them move back home.

What if somebody who was an illegal alien receives a calling? Again, we are a Church that celebrates repentance. Throughout my membership in the Church, I have–many times–sustained those that HAD SPENT time in jail. The key, of course, is that those wrongdoings are IN THE PAST. It is not my place to punish them NOW for crimes and punishments that are long ago put away.

However, I am leery of sustaining somebody who is known to be presently an illegal alien. First, giving an illegal alien a calling to a leadership position smacks too much of hiring them, which is contrary to Section 8 USC 1324, which calls for severe penalties for hiring undocumented workers.

I am also concerned about the signal that such a calling gives. Though my FAIR colleague and cyber-pen-pal Lance Starr tells me that illegal immigration is a misdemeanor rather than a felony (I believe him; he’s a lawyer and I’m not! ;) ), I hesitate to consider illegal entry into the USA no worse than a speeding ticket. I am told that failure to pay taxes is also a misdemeanor, yet Church policy is clear: “A member who refuses to file a tax return, to pay required income taxes, or to comply with a final judgment in a tax case is in direct conflict with the law and with the teachings of the Church. Such a member may be ineligible for a temple recommend and should not be called to a position of principal responsibility in the Church. A member who is convicted of willfully violating tax laws should be the subject of Church discipline to the extent warranted by the circumstances” [Policies and Announcements, Ensign, Mar. 1994, 80].

However, tax evasion is often accompanied by other, more serious wrongs, like perjury.

To sum up, I think that a person who is in the USA illegally should not be given a significant calling until that person is in compliance with the law–or back in the country of origin. And, if they haven’t paid taxes, the same should apply until they are in compliance.

What do you think?

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