Personal & political: Families reunite through border fence
The tearful moments connect Nogales, Ariz. with another emotionally-charged event at our nation’s capital.Photo: Video by kgun9.com
CREATED Jun. 12, 2013
NOGALES, Ariz. (KGUN9-TV) - A family reunion that’s both personal and political thrusts Southern Arizona into the international spotlight. The tearful moments connect Nogales, Ariz. with another emotionally-charged event at our nation’s capital.
They reunited Tuesday through the border fence between Nogales and its sister city with the same name in the Mexican state of Sonora.
On the U.S. side: three young adults. One the other: their mothers. They hadn’t seen each other in years.
The young adults are the children of undocumented immigrants and they’re participating in the federal deferred action program. That allows them to stay in the U.S. for a limited time. They understand they cannot leave the country during that time.
The government deported their mothers about six years ago and cannot return to the U.S. They’re from Mexico, Columbia and Brazil, according to organizers.
"I just want to be with my kids,” one mother said.
“I just want to be with my mom,” her daughter added.
They cried and hugged through the 18-foot fence.
None live in Arizona or Sonora. They chose to meet in Nogales because the fence allowed them to hug each other, unlike at other sections along the southwest border.
“Before I left, I promised my mom that I would once again be reunited her,” said son Carlos Padilla, 21. “The next time I would be with her it wouldn't be through a fence. I would be able to hug her completely.”
The emotional event has made international headlines on CNN, CNN en Español, Univision and other media outlets.
The DC-based organization United We Dream organized the event, called "Operation Butterfly."
“We want to be able to embrace them without that fence,” said coordinator Carolina Canizales. “We want to be able to have an immigration reform.”
That call for reform timed well with an immigration overhaul pushed forward in the Senate Tuesday and debated Wednesday.
“We have always had immigration, and we will always need immigration to keep the nature and the essence of who we are as a people,” said Sen. Marco Rubio Tuesday, “but times change and the immigration system needs to change with those times."
The bill would give 11 million undocumented immigrants a path to citizenship. But it's far from law.
“I've got real concerns about the Senate bill,” said House Speaker John Boehner Tuesday, “especially in the area of border security and internal enforcement of this system. I'm concerned that it doesn't go far enough.”
The families at the fence hope the possible law will bring them even closer -- on either side of the fence legally.
It looks like the immigration bill as it stands now would let the three children eventually become citizens. They could then leave the country to see their mothers face to face.
Read specifics of the current bill for more.