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Shurtleff to lobby Mormon authorities on immigration for White House

First Published Jan 29 2013 03:15 pm • Last Updated Jan 30 2013 01:52 pm

Washington • Former Utah Attorney General Mark Shurtleff has agreed to help President Barack Obama gain support for comprehensive immigration reform among Republican senators, attorneys general and the LDS Church.

Shurtleff attended Obama’s immigration speech on Tuesday in Las Vegas at the invitation of the White House and was among a small group that met with the president and some of his top advisers.

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Interior Secretary Ken Salazar asked Shurtleff to work on behalf of the effort, particularly with the LDS Church.

"They would like the support of the LDS Church, which I think is important myself," Shurtleff told The Salt Lake Tribune.

"I’ve had the opportunity over the years to get to know some of the general authorities. I plan to talk to them about this and ask them to get behind it."

The LDS Church supported the Utah Compact, a 2010 document calling for a federal solution to the issue of immigration and compassion for the 11 million undocumented immigrants.

At the time the faith issued a statement saying: "Public officials should create and administer laws that reflect the best of our aspirations as a just and caring society. Such laws will properly balance love for neighbors, family cohesion, and the observance of just and enforceable laws."

Shurtleff, a major player in the Utah Compact, has been the highest-profile Utah politician who supports broad immigration reform that allows illegal immigrants a pathway to citizenship.

He will also try to drum up support among attorneys general, though his successor AG John Swallow has made it clear that he has no interest in being outspoken on this issue.

And Shurtleff has an uphill battle in convincing Utah’s members of Congress, who have supported smaller immigration bills but none of whom have supported a process that would give legal status to the undocumented.

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