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Hispanic pastors respond to immigration issue


(BP) — The extent to which immigration will be a topic during the Southern Baptist Convention is unknown. Much depends in part on what the 10-member Resolutions Committee decides to recommend to messengers – and what any proposed resolution on immigration might say. There also might be motions from the floor.

However, the topic is on at least one SBC-related group’s agenda: the National Fellowship of Hispanic Baptist Churches, which will meet June 10-11 in Greensboro at Pleasant Garden Baptist Church. A four-page paper prepared by fellowship leaders will be discussed during the 3 p.m. business session on Sunday.

The draft that has been circulated by the fellowship asks that forgiveness be extended to illegal immigrants who have lived productively and peaceably in the U.S.

“As a Hispanic Fellowship and in the name of all those who have violated the existing immigration laws, we ask for your forgiveness, one of the most beautiful words that exist in the human vocabulary and in the Holy Scriptures,” the paper states. “We ask forgiveness for the crime of entering this country illegally; even though we know that most of these people are hard working honest persons only trying to better their social, moral, academic, and cultural situations ...”

The fellowship’s paper also states, “There must be a wise and just system that recognizes the dignity of the individual, offers them a reasonable transition to a legal status or, if this is not possible, a gradual transition period to return to his or her native country ...”