This Immigration Rights Group Gave 6 Families The Chance To Cross The Border For A 3-Minute Visit
Tears, hugs and so much loved spilled across the U.S.-Mexico border last weekend as families were reunited in Friendship Park in San Diego. For the third time, Border Angels teamed up with the U.S. Border Patrol for an “Opening the Door of Hope” event. For three minutes, family members got the chance to hold, touch and see each other for the first time in years. Emotions ran thick.
San Diego’s Friendship Park was the scene of love, family reunions and hope this past weekend.
“Friendship Park is the heart and soul of this immigration issue,” Border Angels founder Enrique Morones told CNN. “We have the universal human right to be with our families. You don’t practice human rights by putting up a wall.”
Border Angels, a nonprofit organization trying to improve the conditions along the U.S.-Mexico border, teamed up with Border Patrol to organize the event for Mexico’s Children’s Day.
Six families were screened and approved to cross the border in order to spend just a few brief moments soaking up all the love they could muster, according to Border Angels.
The six pre-approved families got the chance to cross the border to Mexico for 3-minute visits.
“It was amazing to feel my mom and touch her again, smell her, everything,” Jannet Castanon told Times of San Diego after seeing her mother for the first time in nine years. “She’s still the same lady, strong.”
The emotions at the park were high for everyone, not just the families in attendance.
The children were treated to a day of festivities on both sides of the border wall.
There was face painting, treats and, after the family visits, the children were all given toys.
“The purpose is much more than letting a family reunite for three minutes,” U.S. Rep. Juan Vargas told the crowd, according to Times of San Diego.
“The purpose is really to show that this is what we should be doing, bringing families together, not separating them,” Vargas continued.
Event officials hope that events like this can bring renewed interest in solving the contentious immigration debate.
“When the wall was built, nobody expected all these deaths,” Morones told CNN Money about the wall, first constructed in 1994. “They thought that people would stop coming in 1994, but they didn’t. They started crossing in more dangerous areas. So instead of one to two people dying a month, it was one to two people dying per day.”
As the day came to a close, family members gave final hugs and so many tears were shed.
“I don’t know where people get the cold hearts to say it’s OK to break families apart,” Vargas told the press. “These families are trying to live the American Dream, coming, working hard, building a life, building a country.”
“I hope that one day there is no border, and we can all see our family members once again,” attendee Gabi Esparza told CNN Money, no doubt echoing the thoughts and hopes of other family members at the event.
Border Angels will be having another event at the border for families for Mother’s Day.
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