SALT LAKE CITY — President Donald Trump continued to defend his plans for immigration by releasing a statement on Sunday.
“This is not about religion — this is about terror and keeping our country safe. There are over 40 different countries worldwide that are majority Muslim that are not affected by this order,” Trump said in a statement. “We will again be issuing visas to all countries once we are sure we have reviewed and implemented the most secure policies over the next 90 days.”
The LDS Church released a statement late Saturday night after Trump announced his plans for immigration.
“The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is concerned about the temporal and spiritual welfare of all of God’s children across the earth, with special concern for those who are fleeing physical violence, war and religious persecution,” the statement read. “The Church urges all people and governments to cooperate fully in seeking the best solutions to meet human needs and relieve suffering.”
Trump billed his sweeping executive order as a necessary step to stop “radical Islamic terrorists” from coming to the U.S. Included is a 90-day ban on travel to the U.S. by citizens of Iraq, Syria, Iran, Sudan, Libya, Somalia or Yemen and a 120-day suspension of the U.S. refugee program.
Trump’s order singled out Syrians for the most aggressive ban, indefinitely blocking entry for anyone from that country, including those fleeing civil war.
Some people in Salt Lake City have been unhappy with Trump’s executive order on immigration and refugees. A group of about a hundred people protested Saturday night at Salt Lake City International Airport.
On Sunday, protesters took their message downtown, as they marched through the streets.
The protesters said they were upset with the president’s executive order on immigration and refugees as well as the border wall proposal. They said they want to be sure people hear them.
The group rallied at City Hall before marching through the streets of downtown Salt Lake City for about an hour. They chanted and held up signs protesting the president and his executive order.
Some of the protesters were originally from some of the countries that would be affected by the order, like Somalia and Iraq. They said they wanted to see more signs of unity.
“The more that we put up walls, the more that we keep separating this country and the more division that keeps happening, the more that we’re just tearing our country down, and down, and down until there’s going to be nothing left,” said one protester.
Many more protests took place nationwide on Saturday and Sunday.
Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., took to Facebook to voice his disagreement on Trump’s decision.
“Our government has a responsibility to defend our borders, but we must do so in a way that makes us safer and upholds all that is decent and exceptional about our nation,” he posted on Sunday.
The LDS Church made a similar statement back in December 2015. The church reiterated that though it remains neutral on party politics and election campaigns, “it is not neutral in relation to religious freedom.” The church pointed to its first president Joseph Smith Jr.’s teachings.
President Smith said in 1843:
“If it has been demonstrated that I have been willing to die for a ‘Mormon,’ I am bold to declare before Heaven that I am just as ready to die in defending the rights of a Presbyterian, a Baptist, or a good man of any denomination; for the same principle which would trample upon the rights of the Latter-day Saints would trample upon the rights of the Roman Catholics, or of any other denomination who may be unpopular and too weak to defend themselves. It is a love of liberty which inspires my soul — civil and religious liberty to the whole of the human race.”
That statement came a day after Trump called for a “total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States.”
The church also released the following statement on immigration back in 2011:
“The history of mass expulsion or mistreatment of individuals or families is cause for concern especially where race, culture, or religion are involved,” the statement read. “This should give pause to any policy that contemplates targeting any one group, particularly if that group comes mostly from one heritage.”
The church has created a website in order to help refugees worldwide.