Houston Chronicle compares people crossing border to Mary and Joseph

A stinging Christmas opinion issued by the editorial board of the Houston Chronicle newspaper asks Texas’s hard-right Republican leader: “How would governor Greg Abbott treat Mary and Joseph at the border?”

The leading media outlet in the Democratic-voting city published an editorial article on Christmas Eve and posted on X, formerly known as Twitter, on Christmas Day protesting at the red state’s latest crackdown on people seeking refuge by crossing the US-Mexico border without authorization.

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Immigration law enforcement and processing at the border is the power and responsibility of the US federal government. But Abbott has poured funds into a Texas program called Operation Lone Star that takes border enforcement increasingly into state hands, in a direct challenge to the Biden administration.

The headline of the Houston Chronicle’s piece alludes to the nativity and says: “Two thousand years ago, a young family became refugees.” Monday’s tweet mentions the recent law passed in the state that gives all Texas police sweeping powers to arrest people alleged to have entered the US illegally, as well as empowering local judges to order their expulsion back across the US-Mexico border.

The editorial article says: “Like Joseph and Mary and their child, more than 100 million people around the world are estimated to have been displaced this year, many of them on the move this very night. Refugees and migrants, they are fleeing persecution, grinding poverty, war and unspeakable violence.”

The newspaper talks about migration issues in Europe, Africa and the Middle East, as well as the United States, Central and South America.

“It is not America’s alone to face but we would like to believe, still, even in this polarized state, that America is one of the nations most equipped, most obligated and most resolved to meet the challenge,” the article said.

The paper’s board urges Washington to emulate Houston’s example of an approach of “openness and good sense” towards immigration and to balance security with humanity.

It also points out that for Texans, if Abbott’s new law is allowed to stand – having already faced legal challenges – “racial profiling and harassment throughout Texas are sure to follow.”

The pointed editorial finishes with: “The Christmas story we tell, the story the infant Jesus grew up to tell, counsels sympathy toward the less fortunate, compassion for those in need, kindness toward strangers.”

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