[Vision2020] ‘Door of Hope’ opens for reunions and nuptials
moscowcares at moscow.com
Tue Nov 21 06:21:22 PST 2017
Courtesy of the Los Angeles Times at:
‘Door of Hope’ opens for reunions and nuptials
Families from both sides of the border get a chance to hug and cry for a few minutes.
SAN DIEGO — With a creak and a groan, the heavy steel gate on the fence between the United States and Mexico at Border Field State Park slowly swung open on its rusty hinges just after noon.
A trio of Border Patrol agents pulled it open wider, revealing a tightly packed crowd of Mexican citizens and media with cameras peering north.
For much of the next hour on Saturday, people from the U.S. side walked partly through the gate — into the waiting arms of relatives in Mexico.
For three minutes, each family hugged, cried, and tousled the hair of children or grandchildren some were seeing for the first time, then bid a tearful goodbye.
It was the sixth time that the gate — known as the Door of Hope — had opened since 2013. The gate is inside Friendship Park, a small strip of land where families from both sides can meet and exchange greetings — but not touch — through the heavy screen of the fence.
In a first for the location, Brian Houston of San Diego, dressed in a light gray suit, embraced Evelia Reyes, who was in full bridal regalia — a white dress with a train and a veil. They signed a few documents from the Tijuana municipal authorities, posed for pictures, embraced — and became husband and wife.
Houston is a U.S. resident who said he could not go into Tijuana but declined to elaborate.
His new wife can’t enter the United States legally, so the two decided they would get married on the day the gate opened.
He said they worked with Enrique Morones, the executive director of the Border Angels group that organizes the event, to arrange the brief ceremony.
Houston said the choice was purposely done to communicate a larger message.
“It’s a statement that love has no borders,” he said. “Even though we are divided by a giant fence here, we can still love each other on both sides of the fence.”
He said the two speak by phone daily. They have an immigration attorney who is working on getting Reyes a green card to join him in the United States, something that could take more than a year.
They were the last of the groups of families to meet inside the gate.
Morones said his Border Angels group fields many requests from families each time a gate opening is scheduled. Those names are forwarded to the U.S. State Department, which makes the final decision on who will be allowed to reunite after conducting a thorough check.
Members of most groups were tearful as they hurriedly exchanged a few words or clung to each other in impassioned group hugs.
The event took place about 15 miles west of where the eight prototypes for President Trump’s wall have been built on a dusty patch near the Otay Mesa border crossing.
The 30-foot-tall barriers, made of concrete and other construction materials, are the most visible symbol of Trump’s promise to crack down on immigration and further fortify the border with Mexico. None of the prototypes has a gate or door included in the design.
The contrast was not lost on Morones.
“While some people want to build walls, we want to open doors,” he said.
Brian Houston, center, and Evelia Reyes wed at the Border Field park gate between the U.S. and Mexico.
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