The line of ragged refugees trying to gain entry into the US winds around the corner. Men in robes and tattered clothes. Women wearing veils and hijabs. Little , wide -eyed children peering out from behind their mothers’ flowing dresses.
The Border Control agent barks .”Next”
A young bearded man, with wife and baby crouching behind, slowly approaches.
The agent is filling in a form.
“Where are you coming from?”
“The Middle East. We have had to leave our home.”
Agent:” Why did you leave?”
Yusef: “They are killing us. The new government has taken our property and demands that we give up our homes and possessions. We fled from the violence. If we go back they will kill us. Don’t send us back”
Agent: “Do you have any documents?”
Yusef:”No. We had to flee quickly. We left everything behind except what we carry.”
Agent, writing : “How did you pay for the airline tickets?”
Yusef: “We had a little gold, but that is now gone.”
Agent:”How do you intend to support yourself? Do you have any skills?”
Yusef: “I worked in construction. I can build things. I work with tools.”
Agent: “I see you wife is wearing a hijab. Are you Muslims?”
Yusef: ” Oh, no. She is just wearing the traditional veil. It means nothing.”
Agent: “Are you Christians? Do you follow Christ?”
Yusef, looking confused: ” No. We are simply refugees fleeing for our lives. Please help us.”
Agent, writing down something and looking concerned. “What is in those two boxes?”
Yusef: “Just some perfume and some medicines. It is all we have.”
The agent calls over some security who take the boxes and disappear into another room. “Sorry, those boxes will have to be destroyed. They had some odd looking substances in them.”
The agent looks at the young refugee family , down at his forms, and back up again. “You have no papers. You have no means of support. You CLAIM not to be Muslims, but you sure LOOK like Muslims to me. You brought in some strange packages. And you claim your life is in danger but offer no proof. ” He then takes out a big red stamp and loudly stamps the documents, hands them back to the young man and points him to the exit door.
“We will be putting you and your wife and child on the next plane back to the Middle East. Good luck. And Merry Christmas.”
The young man looks down at the document. The big red letters of the stamp are bold: ENTRY DENIED.
They cover the names of the applicants.
Yusef the Carpenter, wife Mary and baby Jesus.