Baptists support legal ‘path’, not ‘amnesty,’ for illegal immigrants

Southern Baptists adopted a resolution Wednesday that supports a path to citizenship for undocumented immigrants but clearly states they reject “amnesty.”

After heated debate at their annual meeting in Phoenix, the Baptists approved a statement that called for secure borders and “a just and compassionate path to legal status, with appropriate restitutionary measures” for illegal immigrants already in the U.S.

Some delegates said the language on “legal status” was tantamount to amnesty, prompting an almost equally divided vote over whether to remove it. In response, officials added language that said: “This resolution is not to be construed as support for amnesty for any undocumented immigrant.”

After Tuesday’s election that put an African-American pastor in the denomination’s No. 2 leadership position, and plans to increase ethnic diversity, the resolution emphasized the church should minister regardless of a person’s immigration status or country of origin.

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