SALT LAKE CITY (AP) - The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is calling on national leaders to support "Dreamer" immigrants who the religion says have earned the right to continue to "contribute positively" to society.
The Church said Friday in a statement that it respects the right of nations to establish immigration laws, but called on leaders to create polices that give "hope and opportunities" for "Dreamer" immigrants. That refers to young people brought to the country as children illegally and raised here through no fault of their own.
The statement comes after President Donald Trump told journalists this week he favors a pathway to citizenship for those immigrants, embracing a notion he once specifically rejected.
The new statement aligns with the Utah-based religion's past calls for a compassionate approach to immigration reform.
The full statement is below:
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is established in 188 nations around the globe. Issues of immigration and legal status are of concern for many of our members. Most of our early Church members emigrated from foreign lands to live, work and worship, blessed by the freedoms and opportunities offered in this great nation.
Immigration is a complex and sometimes divisive issue. As we have stated before, we believe that our first priority is to love and care for one another as Jesus Christ taught. Each nation must determine and administer its policies related to immigration. The Church does not advocate any specific legislative or executive solution. Our hope is that, in whatever solution emerges, there is provision for strengthening families and keeping them together. We also acknowledge that every nation has the right to enforce its laws and secure its borders and that all persons subject to a nation's laws are accountable for their acts in relation to them.
We welcome the sincere efforts of lawmakers and leaders to seek for solutions that honor these principles and extend compassion to those seeking a better life. Specifically, we call upon our national leaders to create policies that provide hope and opportunities for those, sometimes referred to as “Dreamers,” who grew up here from a young age and for whom this country is their home. They have built lives, pursued educational opportunities and been employed for years based on the policies that were in place. These individuals have demonstrated a capacity to serve and contribute positively in our society, and we believe they should be granted the opportunity to continue to do so.