Mexico urged to bar Mormon missionaries

Feb. 13, 2011 at 1:39 PM

SALT LAKE CITY, Feb. 13 (UPI) -- A Latino activist in Utah says he will ask Mexico to bar Mormon missionaries from the United States in retaliation against tough immigration-reform bills.

Raul Lopez-Vargas, former vice president of Centro Civico, told The Salt Lake Tribune he would present his proposal to the Mexican consulate on Monday.

Lopez-Vargas contends the Mormon Church should be taking a public stand against immigration-reform measures that have the backing of Utah's representatives in Washington.

"Most of the representatives belong to that church and most of the bills that are introduced in the Capitol go against human rights," said Lopez-Vargas. "We think the church has a responsibility to speak out against it publicly."

The church had no formal comment on Lopez-Vargas' proposal; however state Rep. Stephen Sandstrom, R-Orem, one of the congressmen pushing legislation beefing up immigration enforcement, told the newspaper that denying visas to missionaries was akin to blackmailing the church.

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