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SALT LAKE CITY -- In advance of Gov. Gary Herbert's meeting on illegal immigration, leaders of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints have issued a new statement on the issue.
Scott Parker will represent the LDS Church's Salt Lake Public Affairs Council and will represent the Church at the governor's immigration meeting Tuesday.
Church leaders issued a new statement that says the complex issues surrounding immigration are a matter of increasing concern.
It reads in part, "Elected officials have the primary responsibility to find solutions in the best interests of all whose lives will be impacted by their actions."
The Church is again asking for civil discourse when addressing immigration, noting, "Finding a successful resolution will require the best thinking and goodwill of all across the political spectrum, the highest levels of statesmanship and the strongest desire to do what is best for all of God's children."
Tony Yapias with Proyecto Latino de Utah said Monday that he is very grateful for this new statement because many lives have already been affected by the release of the list.
"I don't know of any other statement in the past that's been more direct, and so I thank The Church for this strong statement, a very compassionate statement," Yapias said.
Yapias says the statement may make a difference as they approach the upcoming meeting.
Ron Mortensen, spokesman for the Utah Coalition on Illegal Immigration, said his group also agrees with Latter-day Saint Church leaders.
"We would surely encourage fixing the immigration system so people can come here in a responsible period of time. That's part of what our program will be looking at," Mortensen said. "The Utah Coalition on Illegal Immigration will have a plan before the legislative session... that will coordinate a guest worker program with our developmental assistance program overseas."
Yapias says the statement is significant in that it comes on the eve of the roundtable discussion convened by Gov. Herbert.
"I am very pleased," he said. "I hope people will reflect upon it, will think about it, even those who are on the other side... will step back a little bit."
To read the entire statement from the LDS Church, CLICK HERE.