New Book Recounts How Cuban Refugee Who Escaped Castro’s Prison Camps Now Helps Thousands of Other Refugees Find Freedom at the Mexican Border

2008-07-17 12:07:00

    DALLAS, July 17 /EMWPresswire/ -- At a time when angry rhetoric over

illegal immigration often dominates the U.S. political agenda, a new book

introduces a compassionate voice to Americans: a Cuban refugee who has

devoted his life to helping 20,000 other refugees find freedom, hope and

healing at the U.S. border.



    "I Was A Stranger, Hope for a Hidden World" is the inspirational story

of Feliberto Pereira and his life as a modern Good Samaritan. Pereira

escaped the persecution of Fidel Castro's 1960 regime aboard a "freedom

flight" to America. Knowing firsthand that most refugees arrive with

nothing more than the clothes on their backs, Pereira, a U.S. citizen,

started a ministry in South Texas assisting refugees in their path to

freedom.



    Since 1979, what is now Southwest Good Samaritan Ministries has

assisted some 20,000 refugees from more than 40 countries -- Muslims, Jews,

Christians and atheists. Refugees and those who serve them are welcomed at

a five-acre facility built by volunteers called Casa Compasíon (House of

Compassion) located three miles from one of the U.S. government's largest

immigration detention centers, from which detained refugees are released to

Pereira's custody.



    Tragically, the book also describes how political asylum is now being

lumped together with all forms of immigration and, as a result, asylum as a

legal path to freedom appears to be vanishing for hundreds of thousands of

people. Since the September 11 attack on the United States, the number of

refugees both seeking and being granted political asylum has fallen

dramatically.



    "I have a place in my heart for all refugees and immigrants," said

Pereira. "They are just like you, just like me -- only many are placed by

life in circumstances none of us would ever freely choose. Illegal

immigration is a problem no country can ignore, but we Americans must

distinguish between illegal immigrants seeking a better way of life

economically and individuals in need of protection."



    In 2007, The U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees noted : "More and more

asylum seekers are portrayed not as refugees fleeing persecution and

entitled to sanctuary, but rather as illegal migrants, potential

terrorists, and criminals -- or at a minimum as 'bogus.'"



    This book is published by Brown Books. For more information on the

book, visit http://www.iwasastranger.org





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