Posada urges humanitarian stance on immigration from U.S. Rep.

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It’s worth noting that Mary and Joseph’s biblical procession — from Nazareth to Bethlehem, then Egypt — resembles the plight of refugees fleeing turmoil in Mexico, Central America and the Middle East, said Claudia Rueda.

The couple's trek to Bethlehem to register for a census culminated with rejection by a town too full to accommodate them. Mary then birthed her baby, who didn't exactly have his paperwork in order, in a manger.

“The Bible tells us that days after (Jesus’ birth) Mary and Joseph were forced to flee to Egypt because Jesus had made it onto the death list of a tyrant," said Rueda, who is a member of the Corpus Christi Immigration Coalition. "Jesus was a refugee. His family sought and ultimately found shelter. For Christians, this is your religious tradition. It reminds you to care for those who seek shelter. It calls on you to care for those who seek refuge."

The recently formed coalition, the Coastal Bend Labor Council, and other local groups led a posada-themed procession to U.S. Rep. Blake Farenthold's Corpus Christi office on Monday. The group urged Farenthold to take a humanitarian stance, backed by Christian values, when endorsing federal immigration policies. Farenthold was gifted a basket full of Mexican goodies and a posada-themed cake.

Farenthold did not greet the group. His district director, JD Kennedy, said he was not in the office. The Republican congressman issued a statement Monday afternoon.

“I look forward to working on legislation that is fair, compassionate and shows the values of the American people without rewarding illegal behavior," the statement reads. "While I never supported the idea that the sitting President, Democrat or Republican, should unilaterally decide which laws to enforce and which ones to ignore, I do support policy that enforces our border and finds a compassionate solution to children who are essentially victims in the illegal immigration battle."

Posadas are a more than 400-year-old Christian tradition of reenacting Mary and Joseph's procession to Bethlehem preceding baby Jesus' birth. The group chose to conduct a posada, instead of a march or protest, because immigrant families are treated similarly in the United States, said coalition spokesman Joseph Ramirez. Mary and Joseph journeyed to Bethlehem seeking rest, only to be continually rejected, he said.

"We thought it was symbolic in many ways to what we are facing now," Ramirez said.

The coalition is made up of activists, students, educators, attorneys and other Corpus Christi residents. It was established shortly after Donald Trump was elected president. Organizers have said that because the president-elect campaigned on a platform that instilled fear into immigrant communities, the group was created to build a network of resources to educate and support the local immigrant community.

Eddie Canales, founder of the new South Texas Human Rights Center and a director of the National Network for Immigrant and Refugee Rights, also attended Monday's demonstration. The Falfurrias-based nonprofit's mission is to increase public awareness of migrant deaths in Brooks County and promotes policies to prevent such deaths.

"There is a humanitarian crisis on the border and it has existed for the last decade," Canales said. "Close to 10,000 people have perished ... We can do better. For the last eight years Congress has failed to act in creating fair and just immigration policies."

"Now is the time to create policies that reject hate and xenophobia," Canales said. "This country can do better."

The coalition also invited Farenthold to attend a Dec. 28 community forum to discuss the role Congress has played in creating barriers for legal immigration, Ramirez said. The forum will host lawmakers and city and county leaders for the discussion.

Read the article and see video at: http://www.caller.com/story/news/2016/12/19/posada-urges-humanitarian-stance-immigration-us-rep/95608808/

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