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Immigration News

Immigration Finds Support In Unlikely Place

Joseph Cannon, a former Republican National Convention delegate, chairman of the Utah Republican Convention, and editor for a Mormon-owned newspaper, is now being called a “liberal freak” by some outraged readers.

In an editorial for The Deseret News (named after the provisional state founded by Mormons in 1849), Cannon pushed for a more liberal take on undocumented immigrants which has led the paper’s many readers to call and write in with opinions of disgust.

With conservative views on topics such as same-sex marriages and alcohol laws, it has many wondering why Cannon would embrace such a liberal stance on this issue.

The answer lies with the owners of the paper, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. The Mormon Church, having already made considerable efforts to create strong ties to the Hispanic community, has even created a Spanish-language paper called El Observador.

While some are saying it’s simply a ploy to increase the number of Mormons in the country, Cannon says the paper would never run something they found offensive and that it’s ‘the church’s practice is to say, ‘Look, we’re not immigration agents. We care for the soul.’ ’

With three papers sent out every week, both the English and Spanish-language papers try to include two or three articles on immigration-related topics, recently including one about the separation of families.

Patricia Dark, editor for El Observador, says, ‘The breaking up of families is horrific, so we want to highlight that.’ In the Mormon faith, it is taught that the family bond should be forever sacred, so a family being pulled apart due to immigration is severe .

Cannon understands that changing people’s opinions on the issue will not be easy, but says he hopes that he can at least challenge readers to look at immigration through the eyes of their religion.

“What are the two commandments? Love God and love your neighbor,” he said. “These people are our neighbors — incontestably, by any definition, they are our neighbors.”