Migrants stage Passion of the Christ at border wall

EL PASO, Texas (Border Report) – Carrying the flags of several Latin American countries and a large wooden cross, a group of asylum-seekers on Friday crossed the Rio Grande from Mexico to honor a Good Friday tradition while making a point about their plight.

A migrant wearing a crown of thorns took the cross on his back while a black-clad figure symbolically whipped his back as he walked on U.S. soil.

“This represents what Christ did for us, the sacrifice he made for our salvation,” said Jaily, a Venezuelan migrant planning to turn himself over to U.S. immigration authorities and ask for asylum in days to come. “This also (represents) the sacrifice we have made coming from the jungle to here. I am proud (to carry the cross) because we know how he suffered. He is on our side, and he will give us a victory.”

The group walked within feet of razor wire placed by the Texas Army National Guard in front of Gate 36 of the U.S. border wall. Guard members looked on, vigilant, while a recording in Spanish played on a loudspeaker: “If you cross at any place that is not a port of entry is illegal. If you cross illegally and your claim is denied, you will not be able to apply again for five years.”

Members of the Texas Army National Guard remain vigilant as migrants stage the Passion Play near Gate 36 of the U.S. border wall in El Paso, Texas, on 3-29-24.

None of the migrants staging the play attempted to circumvent the barbwire barrier. A woman and a child took turns carrying the cross and the woman was symbolically crucified before the players returned to the Mexican side.

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But many others who were planning to cross stayed on the U.S. side – hoping the Texas soldiers would let them through or waiting for a chance to go under the wire and run to stake an asylum claim with the Border Patrol.

A group of migrants and activists cross the Rio Grande from Mexico to the border wall at El Paso, Texas, on Good Friday to stage a Passion Play and make a point about the plight of asylum seekers stuck on the border.

Passion play organizer Carlos Mayorga, a Juarez human rights activist, said he wanted border residents to keep the migrants in their prayers as they observe Good Friday – the Christian holiday marking the crucifixion and death of Jesus Christ.

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“Men, women and children carried the cross in remembrance of Jesus Christ but also knowing they are victims of a daily Calvary: Ignored by society and ignored by the government,” Mayorga said.

The cross bore the inscription "Bless and listen to the migrant."

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Friday’s brief and peaceful demonstration contrasted with two days of physical confrontations between migrants and Texas soldiers and police officers at Gate 36 last week. Several migrants were arrested after barreling through the outnumbered soldiers, who have since received reinforcements from other parts of Texas.

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