Things That Matter

This Video Of A Mexicana And Her Parents Reuniting After 23 Years Is A Reminder That Conservatives Have Immigration Wrong

So many immigrants are all too familiar with the feeling of homesickness. From the food, the language, the culture of one’s own country, it’s an incredibly difficult process to leave a familiar life in pursuit of a something new. But perhaps most difficult of all is saying hasta luego to loved ones—sometimes for years, or, in many cases, even decades.

For Twitter user @aashleylozano, watching her mother and grandparents reunite for the first time in 23 years was a heartwarming experience that inspired many people to share their own stories of reunion and reconnection.

@aashleylozano recorded her mama as she approached her parents, @aashleylozano’s abuelos in the Portland International Airport. The three of them embrace tearfully in a moment of sheer joy, savoring the fact that they could finally hug each other after 23 years apart.

According to @aashleylozano, her mother left Petatlan, Guerrero, Mexico, due to struggles with @aashleylozano’s father. In order to separate herself from the conflict, @aashleylozano’s mom moved the family to the U.S., eventually ending up in Oregon. And after spending two decades apart, @aashleylozano’s abuelos finally got their visas approved and were able to make their way to the Pacific Northwest for a visit.

The video garnered an enthusiastic response from other immigrants (and second-generation folks), eager to share their own experiences with being separated—and reunited—with family after too much time apart.

This Latina shared a video of her dad reuniting with her abuelo.

This Latina shared a video of her mom and her tías reuniting with their parents after 15 years apart.

This Latina expressed her gratitude for belonging to a family who is lucky enough to be together. She also acknowledged the sacrifices her parents made to provide her with a better life, which is enough to give anyone escalofríos.

Many people mentioned that they couldn’t imagine being so far away from their parents for such a long time, like this Twitter user, who lamented the fact that families ever need to separate, offering hope for a better future:

This Twitter user was also optimistic, wishing that all immigrant families could experience this family’s joy:

And this Twitter user encouraged others to put themselves in immigrants’ shoes, imagining how difficult it would be to form a whole new life, in a whole new country, with a totally different culture:

Many of the replies to @aashleylozano’s original video were from people who simply had a strong emotional response to her family’s reunion. Seemingly endless tears were shed from people overwhelmed with happiness for this family finally coming together, but a lot of folks were also saddened by the fact that they were apart for so long, as so many immigrant families are. But the majority of responses were deeply positive, with people celebrating the reunion and offering blessings and well wishes for their future.

Although many people shared their own beautiful stories of reunion, many also drew attention to the difficulties of being away from family. Several Twitter users cited the deaths of grandparents that occurred while their parents were establishing new lives in the US, describing many missed opportunities to spend time with loved ones because of immigration restrictions and challenging life circumstances.

This Twitter user expressed gratitude for the fact that her mother only had to go 4-5 years without seeing her parents (which is still a super long time!), but that her uncle wasn’t as lucky, as he was never able to return to Mexico to see his parents before they passed.

This Latina’s mother has also gone more than 25 years without seeing her mama, and she acknowledged her excitement to bring her mama and her abuela together again—especially since her mama didn’t get to see her dad before he passed away two years ago.

This Latina hasn’t seen her own mom for 5 years, and @aashleylozano’s video took her through a rollercoaster of emotions.

The internet can be an amazing tool for staying connected and for offering support to people who share our most challenging experiences. No matter what one’s experience with immigration might be, it’s almost always bittersweet, with moments of joy, moments of grief, and everything in between. And interactions like @aashleylozano’s family reunion remind us to cherish the time we have with our loved ones, and to remain optimistic about what the future might hold for us and the people we care about most.

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