WASHINGTON -- President Dieter F. Uchtdorf of the First Presidency of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints reaffirmed the church's position on immigration Tuesday during a White House meeting with religious leaders from throughout the country.
Immigration has been major point of discussion in Utah and with members of the LDS Church, which continues to see new converts from diverse cultures, some of whom are considered illegal residents.
Uchtdorf met with President Barack Obama and U.S. administration officials to give input on immigration policy. Uchtdorf is himself a German immigrant and U.S. citizen. He was a World War II refugee and has personally experienced the hardship that many immigrants face today.
After Tuesday's meeting the LDS Church issued the following statement:
"In 2011 the Church publicly endorsed the principles of the Utah Compact as a responsible approach to dealing with the complex issue of immigration reform. The foundational principles on which the Church's position is based are:
"We follow Jesus Christ by loving our neighbors. The meaning of 'neighbor' includes all of God's children, in all places, at all times.
"We recognize an ever-present need to strengthen families. Families are meant to be together. Forced separation of working parents from their children weakens families and damages society.
"We acknowledge that every nation has the right to enforce its laws and secure its borders. All persons subject to a nation's laws are accountable for their acts in relation to them."
According to the press release, "Repeating the Church's long-standing position on immigration laws, President Uchtdorf said that public officials should create and administer laws that reflect the best of our aspirations as a just and caring society, including not only immigration but securing religious freedom and liberties around the globe."
"Such laws will properly balance love for neighbors, family cohesion and the observance of just and enforceable laws," said Uchtdorf in the release.
Today's meeting with the President included the following faith leaders:
• Dieter F. Uchtdorf, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
• Dr. Russell Moore, Southern Baptist Convention, Nashville, Tenn.
• JoAnne Lyon, General Superintendent, the Wesleyan Church
• Dr. Noel Castellanos, CEO, CCDA, Chicago, Ill.
• Suzii Paynter, Executive Coordinator, Cooperative Baptist Fellowship, Atlanta, Ga.
• Luis Cortes, President, Esperanza.