EL PASO, TX – Around 100 families reunited and embraced for a few minutes at the border of the Rio Grande during the event “Hugs, not walls” that took place last Saturday, January 6 at the El Paso-Juárez border, near the Casa de Adobe Museum.
The event allows children and families separated by immigration and border policies to physically meet and embrace for a few emotional minutes after years of separation. The activity was organized by the Border Network for Human Rights (BNHR) and the Reform Immigration Alliance for Texas (RITA), in coordination with other local organizations and federal immigration agencies on the southern border.
Cruz Perez Cuellar, Mayor of Juarez said that “Abrazos, No Muros” is a way to remember that Ciudad Juarez, El Paso and Las Cruces are one community and as such it is important to continue working together.
“I appreciate the opportunity to be here. This is a beautiful border tradition and I think it is a way to remind us that we are one community, that yes we are two countries and three cities but we are one community,” the mayor said.
He recognized the efforts of the Border Network for Human Rights (BNHR), which is in charge of organizing the event in coordination with the Immigration Reform Alliance for Texas and the authorities of this border.
Isabel Salcido, councilwoman of District 5 in El Paso, Texas, indicated that being part of this event is important, since it is necessary to work more on the immigration issue, while Alexandra Anello, another of the councilwomen from El Paso, celebrated the initiative that allows families to embrace each other again.
Event organizers noted that the briefly reunited families demonstrated the strength and resilience of the immigrant community and the urgency for comprehensive immigration reform that can fairly address this humanitarian crisis.
“As border communities across the State of Texas continue to be subjected to unprecedented militarization, demonization and hate, BNHR will continue to provide a beacon of hope to the millions of families who have been forcibly separated by our broken and inhumane immigration system. Hugs Not Walls provides the long-awaited opportunity for children, mothers, fathers, brothers, sisters, aunts and uncles to see, touch and hug each other for a few precious minutes, many for the first time in years! It is a reminder to our leaders that alternative, humane and just solutions are just around the corner,” said Fernando Garcia, executive director of the BNHR.