For the past six years, thousands of miles have separated three Dreamers from their mothers who were deported. But recently, it was only a rusted steel fence that separated the three Dreamers from their mothers as they reunited at the Southern border.
United We Dream organized the reunion. The group released a video Tuesday showing how the three Dreamers traveled to Nogales, Ariz., to reunite with their mothers, who stood on the Mexico side of the border.
Among them were Renata Teodora, whose mother was deported to Brazil in 2007, and Carlos Padilla, whose mother returned to Mexico to care for aging relatives and hasn’t been able to return to the United States.
The third Dreamer was Evelyn Rivera. Her mother was deported to Colombia six years ago after being stopped and detained for driving without a license. Rivera was about to graduate from high school when her mother was deported.
In a newsletter sent out Tuesday by United We Dream, Rivera said she and her mother haven’t been able to touch or see each other in person for six years.
“Today, I was able to finally do something I’ve [waited] six long years to do … hug my mother and see her smiling face,” Rivera said.
With reunion at Southern border, Dreamers highlight family separation
The reunion marks the launch of United We Dream’s “Operation Butterfly,” a campaign calling for an end to the the separation of families.
For months, members of United We Dream have been pushing for an immigration reform bill that would reunite those who’ve been separated from their families. They also want the bill to allow undocumented youth who’ve been granted deferred action to bring back their deported family members.
Now, they’re ramping up their efforts with “Operation Butterfly.”. The campaign launched on the same day that the Senate voted to move forward with debate on the bipartisan immigration reform bill. It also came the same day President Barack Obama gave his support once more for an immigration reform bill that includes a path to citizenship for undocumented immigrants.
Through the “Operation Butterfly” campaign, members of United We Dream hope to bring to light more stories of Dreamers, like Rivera, who’ve been separated from their families.
Rivera said she and the other Dreamers traveled to the border because they want to “tell the world that dividing families like this is cruel and unjust.”
“Parents shouldn’t be taken away from their children because they were driving to work to support their families,” she wrote in the United We Dream newsletter. “It’s time for immigration reform that keeps families together and reunites families, like mine, that have been separated by our broken immigration system.”
Originally published on VOXXI as Reunion at Southern border: After 6 years, Dreamers see their mothers