Despite Romney?s Stance, Mormons Moderate on Immigration

Although Mormons are typically more conservative than the general population, Mormons appear to be almost evenly divided over issues of immigration.

According to a 2011 study by the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life, Mormons’ views on sex and reproductive rights are very conservative when compared to the general public. Almost 80 percent of Mormons believe that sex between unmarried adults is wrong, while only 35 percent of the general public feel the same way. Nearly 75 percent of those aligning with the Mormon faith believe that abortions are morally wrong, much higher than the 52 percent of the general public that also view the practice as immoral.

However, for immigration, 45 percent of Mormons believe that immigrants strengthen the United States’ economy because of their hard work and talents, making this one of the few issues in the Pew study for which their answers were similar to those of the U.S. public as a whole.

Those who have followed the Mormon church’s actions on behalf of immigration may remember that church authorities publicly supported an immigration reform bill in Utah in June 2011. The bill was largely opposed by anti-immigration activists.

Although many Mormons hold moderate views on immigration, this moderation is not reflected in one of the most prominent Mormons on the national stage: GOP presidential hopeful Mitt Romney. After months of asserting that he will be tough on immigration without offering many specific policy proposals, Romney has concretely shown his more conservative views to the public after winning primaries in Iowa in New Hampshire.

South Carolina voters received pamphlets from Romney in early 2012 that took a firm line by proposing putting an end to immigrant benefits and eliminating all magnets that draw illegal immigrants to the United States. The mailer additionally brought up instituting stricter regulations for employment, and Romney advocates several ways to check work visa and green card status for employees.