Long-separated families meet in the riverbed of the Rio Grande

Long-separated families meet in the riverbed of the Rio Grande (KTSM Photo)
Long-separated families meet in the riverbed of the Rio Grande (KTSM Photo)

EL PASO, Texas (KTSM) — On Saturday, hundreds of families separated by the U.S.-Mexico border were reunited during a special event in the Rio Grande near downtown El Paso.

Hugs Not Walls tried to reconnect family members separated by the border or immigration policies.

Maria Rocha Vega traveled from Denver to see her family and told NewsChannel 9, “My parents brought me here when I was seven years old and ever since then I haven’t seen my dad.”

Vega said she qualifies for DACA but is unable to see her family in Mexico. The event marked the first time in 10 years that she was able to see her father.

Vega said, “I know it’s five minutes or less but a hug is something that’s going to last forever.”

The event was organized by the Border Network for Human Rights and was supervised by multiple law enforcement agencies.

BNHR’s executive director Fernando Garcia said, “We talk about walls and deportation. What we are doing today is bringing families together.”

Family members on the U.S. side work blue while those on the Mexican side wear white.

During this special event – the fourth of its kind – families were given four minutes to hug, laugh and cry together.

Vega told NewsChannel 9, “Oh my god, I did not want to let go. I just want to go back and hug and never separate from each other. I don’t want to say it’s the last time but at least we hug and we told each other we love each other.”

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