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Latino Daily News

Monday May 2, 2011

Latter-day Saints Branch President in Utah Arrested, Faces Deportation to El Salvador

Latter-day Saints Branch President in Utah Arrested, Faces Deportation to El Salvador

Photo: Felix Joaquin Callejas-Hernandez, an LSD branch president now faces deporation

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Felix Joaquin Callejas-Hernandez, a Utah branch president for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is faces deportation after it ws discovered he was in the United States illegally.

Callejas-Hernandez, 53, is currently detained at Utah County Jail and awaits deportation to El Salvador. He, along with his wife and two teenage children, was arrested by immigration agents on April 19.

Tony Yapias, director of Projecto Latino de Utah, said, “There’s a lot of speculation about what happened, but this specific case, and this family, is a real tragedy in that none of them committed a crime.”

Yapias said that the family had sought asylum and remained in the U.S. while attempting to become legal. He added that the church is now divided on the subject of immigration, and that the family’s case now has LDS Church members arguing amongst themselves.

“We have to put a stop to the deportation caucus, LDS members who really want our Latinos deported,” he said. “I wish our system would change, or we could do something with our system so we would have good people like the Callejas family and not be in a similar position as they are now.”

On Friday, April 29, LDS Church spokesperson Scott Trotter released a statement on the Callejas-Hernandez family’s situation.

“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 and the federal government’s obligation to secure its border.”

Yapias said that Felix is “not resentful of what happened,” and is actually “sharing the gospel with other inmates in jail.”

Jail records indicate his wife Lucia Margarita Castillo de Callejas, 52, son Jose Moroni Callejas-Castillo, 19, and daughter Margarita Concepcion Callejas-Castillo, 18, were all released April 22.