About a month ago, Tony Yapias and others who are opposed to Mitt Romney’s illegal immigration policies slipped and and noted the depth of LDS Church policy related to seeking illegal immigrant converts. They also noted another, apparently little known program/policy [emphasis added]:
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.
No, the church is not breaking Federal Immigration law – they took care of that by having then US Senator Bennett carve out an exception to immigration law for the church. Bennett did so in the 2005 farm bill that had nothing to do with immigration policy – kind of like a sneaky special interest earmark.
The problem the church now faces, however, deals with human trafficking laws. For several years, states (including neighboring Arizona and Colorado, I believe) tightened their laws in an effort to interdict and prosecute illegal immigrant trafficking/organized transportation (often run by cartels/coyotes and unscrupulous businesses). As such, the church, if the above quote is correct, could face a very embarassing situation where its volunteers (and the organization) are charged with human trafficking in one of these states.
I don’t know if the church has anticipated its reaction to such but it may want to get a plan in place, especially as Romney’s apparent nomination will further increase scrutiny on church policy and conduct.