Opening border 'Door of Hope' on Children's Day

Jannet Fernandez spent her three minutes constantly hugging and kissing her parents in Mexico. There was no time to do anything else, she said.

A relative of Jannet Fernandez Vargas waits to give her a hug, as the embrace of daughter and father is reflected in her glasses. Photo by Chris Stone

Fernandez was one of six families Sunday who got to reach across the international divide and embrace their loved ones momentarily at “Opening the Door of Hope,” the recurring event sponsored by the group Border Angels at Friendship Park.

Each family got three minutes to connect with family members while Border Patrol agents manned the gate and kept watch at the U.S.-Mexico border.

Fernandez’s father had gained a little weight since she last saw him 10 years ago, she said, laughing quietly.

But “that’s OK because he was so skinny” years ago, she said at the event coinciding with Children’s Day in Mexico.

The embrace with her father and mother seemed to erase all the time they had been apart, said Fernandez, who lives in San Marcos.

For Jannet Lorenzo, the time to visit also went by rapidly.

“The three minutes passed right away,” she said. “I thought I was just there for one minute.”

But during that short time, her mother conveyed her appreciation for the work she has done the past seven years to raise her sisters.

“She said that she was proud of me. She’s happy that I am helping her,” said the 31-year-old.

Lorenzo’s mother, Reynea Mosso, lived in the United States for almost 18 years and then returned to Mexico to see her own mother.

Returning to the States proved difficult, so she has been waiting to return legally. She has another three to four years to complete the process.

Six-year-old Kimberly, daughter of Jannet Lorenzo, passes a tiny flower through the border fence to her grandmother, Reynea Mosso, on the Mexican side. Photo by Chris Stone

And Lorenzo fears that the process of crossing the border legally may become more difficult under the Donald Trump administration.

“I think that (Trump) is going to make it really hard for people … more restrictions for people to apply legally,” she said.

In the meantime, Lorenzo will try to arrange for more people to visit her mother in Tijuana “so that she doesn’t think we are forgetting about her,” she said.

Lorenzo visited her mother at Friendship Park two months ago and was told about applying to see her mother at the “Opening the Door of Hope” event.

Friendship Park is adjacent to Border Field State Park.

Enrique Morones, founder of Border Angels, said he wasn’t certain when the border gate will be opened again in this manner. Last year, there were two such events.

Border Angels is an all-volunteer nonprofit organization that advocates for human rights, humane immigration reform and social justice.

Gates in the border fence make it possible to deal with emergencies and repairs, a Border Patrol agent said. Sunday’s event was the fifth such opening organized by Border Angels.

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