While millions of families across the U.S. were able to celebrate Mother’s Day together this past Sunday, it was a bittersweet day for two mothers in particular.
For many parents and children torn apart by deportation, the only physical contact possible may be to meet at the U.S./Mexico border and touch fingers through a rusty fence.
But in a heartbreaking piece highlighting how our nation’s broken immigration system has ripped apart millions of families, La Opinion lifted up a rare event coordinated by Border Patrol and Border Angels, an immigrant rights group.
For a few precious moments, Border Patrol agents opened a door in a span of fence along the San Diego/Tijuana border — some have called the door the “Gate of Hope” — and moms deported to Mexico were allowed to embrace their American family members for the first time in years.
Numerous families from both sides of the border traveled to the event — one family from as far away as Seattle, Washington — in hope of being selected to reunite. But only two mothers were selected.
One of the two mothers, Lourdes, had not seen her two young children in over two years. The second mother, Yolanda, had not seen her daughter and grandchild in five years.
With Border Patrol watching inches away, the mothers were allowed to embrace their children and family members for just two minutes.
The short reunion was only the second time the door had been opened since the fence portion’s construction in the mid-1990’s. The previous instance was in 2013, when just one family was allowed to reunite, again for only two minutes.
One of the mothers from this most recent reunion, Lourdes, tearfully recounted her deportation to Mexico over two years ago.
“I missed a court date because of personal problems, and then one day they came and kicked me out of the country. You cannot be at peace. I’ll never be peace as long as I’m separated from my sons.”
At the moment, the La Opinion piece and video documenting the short reunion are only available in Spanish, but the heartache shown in the video needs no translation.