LDS Church 'troubled' by separation of families at border

Monday , June 18, 2018 - 3:08 PM8 comments

SALT LAKE CITY — The “aggressive and insensitive” treatment of families at the U.S.-Mexico border is troubling, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints said in a Monday statement. 

The church said the U.S. government’s actions are “harmful to families, especially to young children.”

The statement comes in response to growing public outcry over a Trump Administration policy that turns all cases of people trying to enter the country illegally over for criminal prosecution. Children are not detained with their parents when those parents are facing a criminal charge, as per U.S. protocol.

President Donald Trump has defended the policy, which has taken nearly 2,000 immigrant children away from their parents.

"The United States will not be a migrant camp and it will not be a refugee holding facility," he added. "Not on my watch," Trump said Monday.

The LDS Church statement from spokesperson Eric Hawkins reads in full:

"The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has long expressed its position that immigration reform should strengthen families and keep them together. The forced separation of children from their parents now occurring at the U.S.-Mexico border is harmful to families, especially to young children. We are deeply troubled by the aggressive and insensitive treatment of these families. While we recognize the right of all nations to enforce their laws and secure their borders, we encourage our national leaders to take swift action to correct this situation and seek for rational, compassionate solutions."

Trump has falsely blamed Democrats, and his administration has echoed his stance by claiming it was enforcing the law, with some using the Bible as religious justification.

Sen. Orrin Hatch also released a statement on the issue Monday, saying a solution to the problem should come from both parties. 

“While I recognize the difficulty the last two administrations have faced with regard to families illegally crossing the border, I wholeheartedly agree with the President’s comments that a policy that leads to separating children from their families is wrong,” Hatch said. “I am working with colleagues in both houses on a path forward that recognizes the need for compassion for children and families without incentivizing illegal border crossings. That solution can and should be bipartisan.”

The Associated Press contributed to this report. 

Contact news editor Kyle Hansen at khansen@standard.net or 801-625-4212. Follow him on Twitter @kylebhansen or like him at Facebook.com/journalistkylebhansen.

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