PHOTO COURTESY / LUCAS JACKSON, REUTERS
Hugs Not Walls
November 5, 2018
On Saturday, October 13th , a special event took place at the United States-Mexico border called “Hugs not Walls.”
The “Hugs not Walls” event authorizes people across the border to reunite with families in the US without having to worry about immigration status. These families get about three minutes before they need to return home. Over 240 families were able to participate in this event.
This event is conducted by an El Paso-based advocacy group, Border Network for Human Rights. The group has put together this function twice a year for the past three years. These short reunions are approved by US government agencies. Since the members who are participating in this event stay on the frontier, a line or border separating two countries, this is very much allowed with supervision of Border Patrol officials. A requirement for the people participating in these events is that the families on the Mexican side wear white T-shirts and the families on the US side wear blue T-shirts.
Fernando Garcia is the director of the Border Network for Human Rights. Garcia is the leading voice in speaking up for humane immigration reform. He believes in holding these symbolic events and feels that those few minutes of getting to see family that have been separated from each other is a civil duty of his. Having this event creates an opportunity for the families to meet again and spend some brief moments together without having to worry about immigration laws.
Marcelino Pizzaro participated in this event and got to hug his family members who had crossed the border over six years ago. “I wouldn’t trade anything for these moments. We have to enjoy them while we can,” Pizzaro said.
The Border Network for Human Rights group is planning the next event in the early months of 2019, but there may be conflicts due to the construction of the new border wall. Garcia is open to talking to Border Patrol agents about making an agreement.