Skip to main content

You make this possible. Support our independent, nonprofit newsroom today.

Give Now

PHOTOS: Spending Christmas in a Seattle church, hiding from deportation

The Las Posadas pageant tells the biblical story of Mary and Joseph seeking and being denied refuge. A downtown Seattle church put on the pageant Sunday for a man trying to avoid deportation to Mexico.

Jose Robles has been in sanctuary at Gethsemane Lutheran for six months. His two daughters and granddaughter visit on nights and weekends.

“I'm very happy that so many of my family are here today," Robles said through an interpreter. "The sad part is at the end of the day everyone will have to leave and then I'll be here again by myself.”

Robles says he was assaulted in April and is hoping for a visa for undocumented immigrants who are victims of a crime.

The church says he'll have sanctuary for as long as his case takes.

For now, he’s facing his first Christmas in sanctuary.

The Las Posadas pageant hosted on Sunday is the first ever at the church.

“Yes, enter, enter holy pilgrims – come and be a part of us," said Pastor Joanne Engquist, quoting the traditional Las Posadas folk song.

"It made me so glad that we in this congregation and the wider community in Seattle, our sanctuary network has been able to offer this welcome in a very tangible way.”

Why you can trust KUOW