“The phenomenon of refugees is not an El Paso problem, it’s a U.S. problem,” said Ruben Garcia, the founder and director of Annunciation House.
And he should know. At Annunciation House, they provide the “hospitality” of food, bed, a shower, and other necessities for at least 2000 migrants a week, before helping to reunite them with family. It is one of the first stops for immigrants who are released by ICE when they cross the border into El Paso from Mexico. So, it was the first stop for me, and 30 other Episcopalians from across the nation, on a pilgrimage in December to learn, listen and know the full truth about the border realities in this country.
I witnessed a busload of immigrants arrive at Annunciation House that day—not rapists, not drug dealers, not criminals, but mothers and fathers with their sons and daughters. In them, I saw the refugee parents of Jesus who crossed borders to ensure that their newborn child would be safe and free to grow into who God had called him to be.
When we crossed the border into Juarez, we stood at the “wall” just a few hundred feet from one of poorest neighborhoods in Mexico made up mainly of Central American immigrants who attempted to cross but settled there. As we stood looking through the slats, at one of the wealthiest areas of El Paso with children from the neighborhood watching us, I thought of Jesus who was born in a manger because there was no room for him