‘Door of Hope’ Swings Open at Border, Brings Tears of Joy to Separated Families

Share This Article:

By Chris Stone

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

Support Times of San Diego's growth
with a small monthly contribution

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.

Enrique Morones, founder of Border Angels, speaks to the media before the gate is opened. Photo by Chris Stonemore
Sonia Lopez Vasquez savors a moment with her grandson Rick. Photo by Chris Stonemore
Lizabeth Borja Lopez spends precious three minutes with Sonia Lopez Vazquez. Photo by Chris Stonemore
Lizbeth Borja Lopez and her son Rick Pernillo try to console Sonia Lopez Vasquez. Photo by Chris Stonemore
Lizabeth Borja Lopez spends precious three minutes with Sonia Lopez Vazquez. Photo by Chris Stonemore
Jessica Reyes Contreras (right) and her son Joseph spend a short time with her relatives in Mexico. Photo by Chris Stonemore
Joseph Bustillo Reyes is greeted by a relative who is on the Mexican side of the border. Photo by Chris Stonemore
Librado Martinez Barboza shows his pleasure as his son, Luis Martines De La Cruz, hugs his mother. Photo by Chris Stonemore
Isaiah Anthony Martinez meets a relative on the Mexican side of the border. Photo by Chris Stonermore
Carmen Guizar Montiel (left) meets with her daughter and grandchild. Photo by Chris Stonemore
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 Stonemore
Family members of Maria de Lourdes Mendoza Guizar hug daughter, Emily. Photo by Chris Stonemore
Reynea Mosso waits on the Mexican side as her two daughters approach. Photo by Chris Stonemore
Reynea Mosso visits with her three-year-old grandson, Fabian, as Jannett Lorenzo looks on. Photo by Chris Stonemore
Reynea Mosso spends a loving time with her granddaughter, Kimberly, 6. Photo by Chris Stonemore
Jannet Fernandez Vargas and her daughter, Jasmine, embrace her father, Javier. Photo by Chris Stonemore
Javier Fernandez shows off his daughter, Jannet, to the crowd on the Mexican side. Photo by Chris Stonemore
Jannet Fernandez Vargas smiles as her father, Javier, shows his daughter to people in Mexico. Her daughter, Jasmine. looks on. Photo by Chris Stone more
Reynea Mosso visits with her daughters, Jannet and Joselin Lorenzo, through the border fence. Photo by Chris Stonemore
Carmen Guizar Montiel watches sadly as her daughter, Maria de Lourdes Mendoza Guizar, walks away from the border fence. Photo by Chris Stonemore
Border Agents have to use some might to close the gate at Friendship Park. Photo by Chris Stonemore
Border agents close the gate after six families met with their Mexican relatives. Photo by Chris Stonemore
Kimberly, 6, daughter of Jannet Lorenzo, smiles at her grandmother, Reynea Mosso, through the border fence. Photo by Chris Stone more
Hayde Lorenzo, 17, visits with her mother through the border fence at Friendship Park, a tear falling. Photo by Chris Stonemore
Hayde Lorenzo, 17, visits with her mother, Reynea Mosso, through the border fence. Photo by Chris Stone more
A marker on the other side of the border fence marks the official border. Photo by Chris Stonemore
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 Stonemore
A toddler on the U.S. side visits with a relative in Mexico at the border fence. Photo by Chris Stonemore
A relative has an emotional visit with a relative through the fence. Photo by Chris Stonemore
A relative has an emotional visit with a relative through the fence. Photo by Chris Stonemore
A child is excited about a gift she receives from Border Angels. April 30 is Children's Day in Mexico. Photo by Chris Stonemore
A woman makes bubbles as children enjoy gifts from Border Angels for International Children's Day. Photo by Chris Stonemore
Enrique Morones, founder of Border Angels, speaks through the fence to Mexican citizens. Photo by Chris Stone more
Follow Us: