Stolen identity (social security numbers) users come in all stripes: fugitives (including the “King of Child Porn”), deadbeat parents, addicts, and illegal immigrants (among others). They use the stolen identity primarily for work (money), credit, and medical services. The identity dealers provide them with Social Security numbers which are frequently taken from children (dealers prime target). The identity thieves (users) then cause immense harm to their victims: social security records are corrupted, taxes aren’t accounted for (the IRS will come calling), credit is ruined, medical history is tainted (with potentially life-threatening consequences) and an arrest record may be added to the mix (see here and and here or plenty of other posts for examples); all this before the victim has even learned to talk. Certain employers benefit from the above as they tap into this labor pool and the thieves benefit with income. According to Tony Yapias, the LDS Church benefits with new members:
The issue is not purely spiritual. Estimates are that 70 percent of Latino converts in Utah are illegal immigrants, said Tony Yapias, director of an immigration advocacy group, Proyecto Latino de Utah, and a Mormon.
That said, a free US program, E-Verify, allows businesses to ensure that a prospective employee is a legal worker and not using another’s identity. It is extremely effective for protecting children’s identities and denying thieves a job…and the Salt Lake Chamber of Commerce has been in constant opposition to the program. In 2010, the program’s use by employers was made law in Utah but the Chamber succeeded in preventing any penalty for violating the law. Last year, both the church and the chamber were instrumental in ramming through the unconstitutional amnesty bill which disregards identity theft victims.
This year, when asked about legislation to strengthen child identity theft protection (HB477), the Church’s chief lobbyist stated they would oppose any such measure as, in their estimation, it would involve [illegal] immigration and they were opposed to any ‘immigration-related’ legislation. When it was explained that this primarily deals with identity protection, would virtually terminate employment-related child identity theft, and involves much more than illegal immigrants, the lobbyist stated his position remains unchanged. Thus, LDS Church Public Affairs has aligned itself with the SL Chamber of Commerce and Sutherland Institute to prioritize illegal labor above children’s identities.
Finally, as previously stated, this seems to leave several conundrums:
- What determines the applicability of the 12th Article of Faith (“…obeying, honoring, and sustaining the law.” – see also here for a more recent citation thereof by Apostle Holland). It is also an item in the Church’s latest missionary publication, “Preach My Gospel” – see page 80 (pdf). This doctrine was firmly established in1831 (D&C 58:19-23, among others): “Let no man break the laws of the land, for he that keepeth the laws of God hath no need to break the laws of the land”.
- Is the Church Handbook Of Instructions (church leadership policy) under review regarding immigration policy.
- Current policy per “Preach My Gospel” (page 80) is that if a serious crime is committed, no baptism may be performed without clearance from the mission president. Are document and identity fraud (felonies) considered serious crimes.
- As noted in church doctrine (and in “Preach My Gospel” page 60) individual responsibility, justice, and restitution and are part of the repentance process. Do those remain applicable for document fraud, forgery, perjury, and identity theft (and victims thereof).
- If identity theft and these other felonies are is waived as a serious crime, what other felony crimes are also not applicable and are lesser violations such as tea/coffee consumption also under reconsideration for temple attendance.
- How would an admitted US citizen ID thief versus an illegal immigrant ID thief fare in admittance to a temple. What if the identity thief stole the identity of a child member (a very plausible scenario – estimated 50,000 Utah children are victims).
UPDATE: Another point to consider:
- The Church, since inception, has staunchly supported the US Constitution as a God-inspired document and an inherent component of God’s gospel restoration plan (note the scriptural citation to D&C 101:80 too). Has this now passed, given HB116’s clearly unconstitutional nature.
It also appears that an LDS special interest group is attacking Mitt Romney on the inferring that his stance on illegal immigration is not in line with their perception of the church’s. They also bolster Yapias’ above data point stating:
Garcia said it is estimated that nearly 70 percent of Latino Mormons are illegal immigrants. He said the church has responded by hiring members whose sole jobs are to transport some Latino missionaries from state to state because they can’t fly due to their immigration status…
…Felix said he cannot be sure about his congregation, but he suspects some 60 to 70 percent of the members could be here illegally.
Unsurprisingly, the group also has shades of the Aztlán movement.
EDIT (3/24/13): Added additional scriptural citation.