Nothing From Outside Can Defile You: Mark 7 and Immigrant Rights

$1.50
Date: 
Monday, 1 May 2000

Priests and People (UK). 6 pp.

IT IS A FEW NIGHTS BEFORE Christmas, 1994. A small group of us are singing thinly, clutching candles against a chilly drizzle. We slowly make our way up a muddy hill. Below us an orange glow floats like fog above the border checkpoint at San Ysidro, California. “En nombre del cielo, les pido posada,” sings one group. “Pues no puede andar mi esposa amada” (“In the name of Heaven I beg you for lodging, for my beloved wife cannot walk”).

We have come to this barren hilltop at the U.S-Mexico border on a posada march. This traditional Mexican liturgy is celebrated throughout the Catholic Southwest during the last nine days of Advent, a kind of public ritual theater. People accompany statues of the Holy Family from house to house around the barrio, waiting to be recognized and allowed in so that the Christ-child may be born. This posada, however, has intentionally come to a door that is closed and heavily guarded: the U.S.-Mexican border. It has been organized by immigrants' rights groups to protest legislation in California that would criminalize delivery of public health, education and welfare services to undocumented immigrants.

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by Ched Myers

All articles on this site were written by Ched Myers unless otherwise specified.