For five precious minutes Tuesday, Mexican families divided by the wall along the US-Mexican border enjoyed a tearful reunion as US border guards opened a door in the barrier.
The Americans did so at the request of Border Angels, a Mexican NGO that defends children’s rights.
The lucky people were four families divided after some of their members living in the US were deported back to Mexico.
The heavy metal door near the San Diego-Tijuana crossing creaked open to allow the joyful encounter.
Lourdes Barraza, who was deported to Mexico two years ago, got to see her small children Geovanny and Alexis.
“I felt happiness and sadness all at once. It was just an instant, and now it is gone. But I told them ‘Let’s all pray to God for us to be together soon’,” Barraza said.
Yolanda Barona had tears in her eyes after hugging her grand-daughter. “I felt as if I had been brought back to life,” she said.
The president of Border Angels, Enrique Morones, told AFP the emotional meetings demonstrate the need for US immigration reform.
“These are families that lose everything when they are separated,” Morones said.
With a comprehensive reform plan in Congress going nowhere, President Barack Obama last year issued an executive order that would protect millions of undocumented foreigners from deportation. Many of the estimated 11 million people living in the US illegally are from Mexico.
But in February a US judge, acting on a lawsuit filed by 26 US governors who oppose Obama’s order, suspended the measure pending further study.