While Mitt Romney is taking a hard line on immigration even as the Republican primaries head toward the heavily Hispanic states of Nevada, Colorado and Arizona, the Mormon Church to which he belongs has become a decisive player in promoting policies that are decidedly more friendly toward immigrants.

Just three weeks before Iowa Republicans hold their presidential caucus, opponents of tough, state-led enforcement-only immigration laws launched The Iowa Compact on Tuesday in an attempt to dial down harsh rhetoric and focus on compassionate and comprehensive reform.

On a chilly Friday afternoon in the place marking Brigham Young’s decision to settle Salt Lake Valley, state lawmakers and the Mormon church marked the one-year anniversary of The Utah Compact — a document supporters credit for sweeping immigration reform within the Utah and across the nation.

Utah’s Republican attorney general has blistered his own party’s 2012 presidential candidates for their harsh rhetoric on immigration, which he claims has alientaed Latino voters. “The party has lost those [Latino] voters,” Mark Shurtleff said at an immigration summit in Salt Lake City Wednesday, according to the Salt Lake Tribune. “They aren’t in danger — we’ve lost them.”

Republicans at an immigration summit Wednesday in Salt Lake City said that a continuation of harsh rhetoric on the polarizing issue — notably among GOP presidential hopefuls — will cost the party the White House in 2012 — and possibly beyond.

Latino advocates on Monday condemned a deal that allowed two former state workers accused of compiling and distributing a list of allegedly undocumented immigrants to be charged, enter pleas, and sentenced on Monday.

Utah insists its new immigration law is different than Arizona’s, but the 1-day-old statute is similarly stuck before a federal judge who will hear arguments in two months about its constitutionality. U.S. District Judge Clark Waddoups issued his ruling Tuesday in Salt Lake City just 14 hours after the Utah law went into effect.

Milton Ivan Salazar-Gomez has lived in Utah since his parents brought him here when he was 10 months old. His two children are U.S. citizens. And he’s afraid he’ll be busted by a police officer who won’t know the feds have cleared him, not to be a citizen, but to be here legally. For now.

Two national civil rights law organizations sued the State of Utah on Tuesday, seeking to block a law that gives the police new powers to question people they stop about immigration status. The law, signed by Gov. Gary R. Herbert in March, was an effort by legislators to crack down on illegal immigration while avoiding the costly legal challenges and polarizing political furor that followed a stricter law enacted last year in Arizona.

Lost in all the talk about the so-called Utah Solution to illegal immigration is a proposed partnership with the state of Nuevo Leon in Mexico. And when HB466 has come up, a Utah entrepreneur who worked behind the scenes to lay the groundwork for it says the legislation has been largely misunderstood.