La Posada Sin Fronteras is a re-enactment of the Bible story of Mary and Joseph. While sojourners in Bethlehem, they were forced to seek shelter on the night of Jesus' birth—much like many migrants today seek shelter to protect themselves and their families. The posada is a venerated Christmas tradition across the Americas.
This year marked the 28th year that human rights organizations, including AFSC, carried out a binational posada in the border cities of San Diego, California and Tijuana, Mexico. Every year, we come together to remember those who lost their lives crossing the border—reading aloud every name. And we call for humane and just immigration policies.
In our time, when the idea of welcoming the stranger—and migrants themselves—are under attack, our binational celebration takes on added significance.
At the start of the pandemic, the U.S. closed the southern border to asylum seekers. Many were deported back to dangerous conditions, against the advice of public health experts who found there was no public health justification for the decision. Since then, the order has resulted in rapid-fire deportations—known as “Title 42 expulsions”—of more than one million people, including children.
In addition to continuing Title 42 expulsions, the Biden administration has also restarted the harmful "Remain in Mexico" program. The program—formerly known as the Migrant Protection Protocols, or MPP—forces migrants to wait out their asylum proceedings on the Mexican side of the border. Today thousands of migrants are stranded there in makeshift camps and other unsanitary conditions amid this pandemic. They lack access to adequate support services and face high rates of kidnappings and violence.
As we approach the new year, we must keep up our call for just and humane immigration policies that respect the rights and dignity of all people. It’s time for the Biden administration to reopen the border to asylum seekers, end the "Remain in Mexico" program once and for all, and protect the health, safety, and human rights of all who seek refuge.
Just as the posada honors the journey that Mary and Joseph took 2,000 years ago, let us today honor the journeys of migrants and refugees with welcome and shelter rather than persecution.