‘Door of Hope’ event opens wall that splits families Divided by an international border, families win a few minutes of respite from separation

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slideshow by Bianca Quilantan
by Bianca Quilantan

Laura Avila and her daughter Laura Vera Martinez waited nervously on the United States side of the border with her mother standing inches away from them in Mexico. Rusted pillars and steel mesh divided them. They could hear one another, but not touch.

Avila had driven 140 miles from Los Angeles to San Ysidro, a San Diego district and the last U.S. exit before entering Mexico. Her mother, Maria Socorro Martinez Lopez, had flown 1,821 miles from Puebla, Mexico, to Playas de Tijuana for a chance to see her daughter and granddaughter.

Only six families and two alternate families were selected by Border Angels, a humanitarian group, and the U.S. Border Patrol to have the opportunity to briefly reunite with their loved ones that could not legally visit because of their Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program/work permit. It allows them to stay in the U.S. but also prevents them from being able to leave. Most of their families across the border also cannot visit legally because they have been deported.

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