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In many communities of Mexico, during the days leading up to Christmas, the sounds of Pidiendo Posada can be heard. This folk song, about “requesting shelter” is a conversation with two parts. One part is the pilgrims, Joseph and Mary, and the other is the innkeeper. It describes the long and dangerous journey of the pilgrims, and the concerns of the innkeeper over letting in robbers or worse into his business. At the end of many verses, the identity of the pilgrims convinces the innkeeper to lend them a place to rest. In the current day Las Posadas events, the entry into the home leads to a party of refreshments and fellowship, much like a night of Caroling might end in any community of the United States.

The conversation in the song is not dissimilar to the main talking points about immigrationalongthesouthernborderbetweenTexasandMexico. Thevast majority of people presenting themselves at the border asking for asylum have traveled a long way and endured many dangers. They have fled conditions at home that include gangs forcing young men and women to join and fulfill the demands of drug and human trafficking cartels. The concerns of those wanting to eliminate or severely limit immigration centers around the entry of criminals and the risks of jobsbeingtakenfromAmericanworkers. Thoseontheothersideofthedebate argue that the United States must abide by international agreements to provide a welcome for asylum seeking immigrants fleeing dangerous conditions. They also point to the many jobs that are shunned by US workers as too dangerous, difficult or low paid, leaving them as jobs for immigrants to fill.

In San Benito, Texas, a long conversation between La Posada Providencia and the officials of Cameron County finally led to the issuing of building permits for expansion. MDSispartneringwithLaPosadaProvidenciatobuildone Administration building which includes dining, kitchen, laundry and office space, plus three dormitory buildings which will safely sleep a total of 48 pilgrims. The work has finally begun which will lead to a better place of rest for those seeking asylum in the United States.

On October 17, Bob, Roger, Lynn, Lois, Lester and Nick began the process of converting an empty, level field into the new driveway, parking lot and building pads for the new facility. After 3 weeks of near daylight-to-dark work over 2,000

yards of topsoil and existing dirt have been excavated and stockpiled. In place of that about 2,300 yards of backfill have been delivered, graded, leveled and compacted. Three pieces of excavating and grading equipment, plus a dump truck and vibratory drum compactor have been running each day.

As part of the dirt work, an extensive drainage plan was put into place with careful grading due to the nearly level starting terrain. Over 200 feet of new culvert and drainage pipe were put in place or are on-site ready to install once the concrete work is completed. All is ready for the next step, which is in-ground installation of plumbing drains and waste lines under the concrete building pads.

The neighbors of La Posada are watching the progress and transformation of this site. The staff and supporters of La Posada are seeing the beginning of a new reality and capability to serve more pilgrims “Pidiendo Posada.”

In the Rio Grande Valley of Texas:
Bob, Roger, Lynn, Lois, Lester, Nick, Laura and Carl

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