From our partners: Mexican Program Reunites Families in New Jersey

This story has been translated from Spanish to English by Anthony Advincula of New America Media. Click here to read the original story via Reporte Hispano.

A program that aims to reunite Mexican families was launched in New Jersey this month, [despite the current restrictive policies around immigration].

Dubbed as the “Silver Hearts Uniting the Morelenses,” the program has so far brought 24 Mexican family members together, with the help of St. Joseph’s Roman Catholic Church in Paterson, NJ.

Most of these visiting family members were from the province of Zacualpa, in the State of Morelos, Mexico. The program, according to the organizers, worked with lawyers to implement the reunification of these families.

Adriana Alvarez, a resident of Paterson, had been finally reunited with her 84-year-old mother. They did not see each other in 14 years.

“It is a great joy to meet [my] mother [again], to be able to get up with her [in the morning], to eat breakfast, to walk and to go shopping [together], after so much time of not seeing her in person,” said Alvarez, a housewife.

Her mother, Amparo Socorro González Marín, could not contain her tears. “I am now 84 years old, but life had only brought me a few joyful moments — and one of them was the day I [came to NJ] and see my daughter again,” she said.

Although the reunification may be short-lived, the program designed activities for families to enjoy their time together to the fullest. The visiting Mexican relatives are scheduled to return to Mexico on May 23, 2017.

“I had to ask permission [from my boss] to take off from work this week,” added Alvarez. “But last week, I worked double shift — until midnight— to see and be with my mother. All of my sacrifices is little, as compared to the joy of having her back with me.”

While the visiting Mexican relatives paid for their airplane tickets and accommodation in the United States, their biggest hurdle was getting their visa from the U.S. Embassy in Mexico.

“There is really no comparison to describe the joy of seeing my mother, to be with her, to hug and touch her, rather than to see her in front of the computer or talk to her on the phone,” said Nicolas Jimenez who had been separated from her mother, Cira Turiján, for 12 years.

Since the day Mrs. Turijan arrived in New Jersey, she has dedicated her days to walk and go out with her son, although she admits that she’s trying to spend more time with her three granddaughters.

“I love playing with them,” said Mrs. Turijan. “They are my light.”

According to Antonio Urueña, organizer of the Morelos government program, the idea of bringing families together began in August 2016. He says the goal is to cover five other states in the United States, namely New York, California, Texas, Illinois, Minnesota.

Between June and July this year, families from Morelos will arrive in the U.S. to meet with their relatives in New York, Illinois and Texas.

Ureña says that, although the program began during the Obama administration, the current government under Donald Trump has not put obstacles to continue the program.

Morelos families who wish to be part of the program should contact the Morelos state government portal, with the social development secretariat: desarrollosocial.morelos.gob.mx/

Mexicans who want to participate in the program must be over 60 years of age, be a parent or brother of a U.S. resident, must have a valid passport, and have no criminal or immigration history in the United States.

 


Author Gery Vereau is a reporter for Reporte Hispano, New Jersey’s largest Spanish-language news outlet. Gery can be reached via Twitter at @Gery47.

Anthony D. Advincula is Editor and Media Organizer for the New York office of New America Media and was responsible for the translation of this story from Spanish into English. Anthony can be reached via email at aadvincula@newamericamedia.org.

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