VIDEO: A few minutes of reunion at the border between Mexico and the United States

On a makeshift bridge installed to cross the river which marks the border between Mexico and the United States, Epifanio Carrillio falls into the arms of his son Arturo, to whom he has not spoken for 16 years except on the telephone.

He wears the number 144 on his hand: the one assigned to him in the queue which includes hundreds of families, like his, torn apart by emigration, on both sides of the border.

“Hugging him in my arms is a great satisfaction, this moment fills a void in our hearts as parents,” said the 75-year-old man, a resident of Ciudad Juarez.

The “Hugs not walls” operation (“hugs, not walls”), organized since 2016 by civil organizations in the United States that help illegal immigrants, brought together 210 families whose members had not seen each other on Saturday. For years.

Hugs, smiles and tears symbolically erased the border between the Mexican city of Ciudad Juarez and that of El Paso, in the United States.

Even the dreaded American border patrol relaxed its surveillance during this reunion, which took place a few meters from the enormous wall which separates the two countries, in an area usually forbidden to access.

A replica of the Statue of Liberty adorned one of the accesses to the temporary pedestrian bridge.

Mexican undocumented immigrants were dressed in yellow, their relatives in blue and the organizers in red, to make things easier.

Claudia Blassi, from Oaxaca, 2,300 km south of Ciudad Juarez, was 21 the last time she saw her aunt, Gloria Cruz. Now 44, she couldn’t hide her nervousness and the emotions that washed over her when she reunited with her 60-year-old aunt and other family members.

“I’m very grateful to God and the people who created this program that allowed me to see them, to hug them even if it only lasted three, five minutes. I keep it with me”, she testifies.

For Fernando Garcia, director of Border Network for Human Rights, one of the organizers of this operation, the idea is to allow “families who have been destroyed and separated by the immigration policy of the United States to be able to be reunited”.

“It’s a moment of love and humanity, of union and hope, but also of protest,” he continues.

He insists that “deportations and family separations have not stopped” under the government of Democratic President Joe Biden, who had “promised a lot” in terms of a more humane policy towards migrants.

In 2021, the number of Mexican migrants in the United States stood at 11.9 million, compared to 11.5 million in 2020, according to a report by the Spanish bank BBVA based on official figures from the two countries.

With AFP

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