Saturday, April 30, 2011

Immigration Debate Sparked When LDS Church Branch President Arrested (God Discussion)

Immigration Debate Sparked When LDS Church Branch President Arrested
April 30, 2011 By God Discussion Reporter

The immigration debate has erupted in a small branch of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (also known as the LDS Church or Mormon church).

Felix Callejas and his wife and children were arrested by immigration agents who were determined to deport them. The family is from El Salvador.

The 53-year-old Spanish-speaking Callejas was president of a small Spanish-speaking LDS branch in Draper. Some members have become afraid to go to the church.

In 2008 and 2009, the family had been arrested for deportation and appealed. Their appeal was dismissed earlier this month and the Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) says that they have been living in the United States illegally.

There has been a growing divide in the LDS Church over immigration. Conservatives say that the law is the law, regardless of whether an illegal immigrant is a church leader.

The LDS Church issued a statement:

This case reminds us all of the need to address immigration reform. As we have stated, we believe any solution should include the following three principles:

* The commandment to "love thy neighbor."
* The importance of keeping families intact.
* The federal government's obligation to secure its border.

Since October 2010, ICE has removed approximately 3200 people from Utah, Nevada, Idaho and Montana.

It is believed that there are two other Callejas family members in the United States, one who is in college and the other serving a mission for the LDS Church. Of the family members in Utah, the 18-year-old daughter, 19-year-old son and mother of the family have been released and supervised while the ICE makes arrangements for their deportation. Felix Callejas remains in a Utah county jail. The family says that they are grateful for the support that they have received from their branch of the church and for the opportunities that they had while in America.

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