Russell Pearce, the Arizona senator who proposed that state's tough anti-immigration law, is LDS and hails from Mesa, a stronghold of Mormonism.
Pearce did not return messages seeking comment for this story. But, according to Rep. Stephen Sandstrom, R-Orem, the Arizona lawmaker builds his case on the Utah-based church's 12th Article of Faith, which says Mormons believe in "obeying, honoring and sustaining the law."
That also is a key belief for Sandstrom, a Mormon who has met with Pearce several times and hopes to introduce a similar bill in Utah.
"We are a country with the rule of law," said Sandstrom, who served an LDS mission in Venezuela. "That's the only way a country can prosper."
On the opposite side are Latter-day Saints who argue for a more complex and humane approach to immigration. They point to church teachings about taking care of one's family, being hospitable to the stranger and building the kingdom of God.