Mormon studies, immigration, economics, theology
While always a heated topic, immigration has once again taken center stage in political discourse across multiple countries in recent years. The controversial debate surrounding the Syrian refugee crisis was especially critical to the 2016 United States presidential election. In response to the crisis, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints announced its “I Was a Stranger” relief effort, encouraging members—and the women in particular—to seek out and assist refugees in their local communities. With this contentious political climate in mind, this paper will review the Church’s “I Was a Stranger” initiative as well as its position on immigration. Furthermore, it will provide a brief scriptural overview of migration and the covenant people’s responsibility toward the poor and “the stranger.” After exploring the general public’s attitudes toward immigration (including Mormons), the bulk of the paper will review the empirical economic literature on immigration, demonstrating that (1) fears about immigration are often overblown or fueled by misinformation and (2) liberalizing immigration restrictions would be an incredibly effective antipoverty program. By favoring policies that reflect the empirical evidence, Latter-day Saints can come closer to achieving the Church’s “divinely appointed responsibilit[y]” of “caring for the poor and needy.”
Wright, Walker A.
""Ye Are No More Strangers and Foreigners": Theological and Economic Perspectives on the LDS Church and Immigration,"
BYU Studies Quarterly: Vol. 57
, Article 4.
Available at: https://scholarsarchive.byu.edu/byusq/vol57/iss1/4