Immigration has become quite a flashpoint in American politics. It’s turned Republicans against each other — some using code words that basically mean “amnesty,” others demanding that the government simply enforce the laws on the books.
Charlotte pastor, and Republican US Senate candidate, Mark Harris got entangled in the issue thanks to a 2011 resolution drafted by the Southern Baptist Convention:
The congregation joins the choir at First Baptist Church in Uptown Charlotte singing, “God of wonders beyond our galaxy…”
After service Pastor Mark Harris says he agrees with the Southern Baptist Convention and it’s time to talk about illegal immigration, “There needs to be a plan put in effect where we can get out of the situation we’re in.”
The situation is up to 15 Million undocumented immigrants in the country and more coming every day.
The SBC has drafted a resolution supporting a path to legal status for undocumented immigrants, allowing them to make restitution and move toward citizenship.
Pastor Harris stresses restitution is not the same as amnesty.
Across town at a Father’s Day celebration, a man who admits he’s undocumented, says the resolution is music to his ears, “It would be the greatest thing in the world.”
Enrique has been in the states for 12 years. He works, goes to church and provides for his family.
He says all he wants is a chance, “(To) prove that we are a people who loves this country too.”
Harris and the Baptist Convention came under some criticism at the time from a prominent Mecklenburg GOP leader:
But Mecklenburg County Commissioner and Former Sheriff Jim Pendergraph says no way, “We don’t reward law breakers.”
Pendergraph says the legal process is the only way to control immigration and to keep the country from being overwhelmed.
He estimates Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools spend up to $100 Million per year educating the children of illegal immigrants.
Pendergraph says, “I think it’s a slap in the face to people who have done it the right way.”
Back at First Baptist, Pastor Harris says it’s time to start the conversation and find a middle ground.
He says, “It’s not possible or feasible for either of the two extremes of deportation or amnesty.”
The SBC resolution also calls for tighter boarder security and holding businesses accountable for hiring practices.