Charlotte center could house immigrant children - | WBTV Charlotte

Charlotte center could house immigrant children


Kids crossing the border into the United States alone has become a national crisis. More than 2,000 of these children have been brought to North Carolina in 2014.

And there is a possibility of a center being opened in Charlotte for these kids, but not everybody thinks this is a great idea.

"Bienvenido" means "welcome" in Spanish. Some in Charlotte say we could be doing more to welcome kids from Central America who are coming to the United States without an adult.

"Our understanding is that there are 23,000 children right now being warehoused in air force bases probably not in the best conditions and they're just waiting," said Reverend John Cleghorn.

Cleghorn is the pastor at Caldwell Presbyterian Church. He says for the children who have no family in the United States and must wait somewhere for the court process his church has a shelter that could house 50 kids.

"We have a building here that's been used for missional activities. We'd be delighted to have considered if it's the right fit for that kind of thing," said Cleghorn.

Cleghorn stresses nothing has been decided. But churches and others like the Latin American Coalition want to see what can be done here in the Carolinas.

"I think we as Americans and people of faith feel very uncomfortable with the idea of children being in jail," said Jess George of the Latin American Coalition.

But Mecklenburg County Commissioner Bill James says it's not a question of compassion. He says the kids who might come to Charlotte may be cute and cuddly but they're still breaking the law.

"To me they have no standing that we should open up a shelter in order to bring illegals into the country which have no right to be here and which deservedly should be shipped back home," said James.

"It doesn't necessarily mean we need state, local or federal dollars to find a good common solution. it means we need to have a statement from our elected officials that this is the kind of city we want to be," said George.

"Certainly understand there are a variety of views on this," said Cleghorn, "For us at Caldwell and other people of faith we're committed to act on our faith and that's our driving purpose."

They'll see if a shelter can come here.

An immigration lawyer says he knows of a group that has a federal contract that could establish such a shelter here in Charlotte.

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