Puebla immigrants will live their best Christmas with their parents who left when they decided to travel north.

Slowly, one by one, 82 elderly parents were getting off the truck on Thursday at noon to enter downtown. My house is Puebla from East Los Angeles.

Hundreds of relatives were waiting anxiously in the courtyard, who would meet their old men in no time. They were mainly children who did not see their parents for 10, 20 or even more than 30 years.

The passage of time could not be hidden. Skin wrinkles, whiter hair and even the slow pace of parents betrayed the lost years away from their children. Some walked with a cane, walker and even in a wheelchair.

Once inside the center room ready to meet with his children Mr. Cruz Sánchez could not avoid the tears since he was about to see his two children Julián and Francisco Sánchez. Both left their native Puebla 20 years ago in search of a better future. Now they have two and three children respectively whom Cruz does not know.

“I am very happy to see my children because they have not seen them for many years and I will meet my grandchildren,” said Cruz, 63.

Outside, the brothers said that the reunification was very significant with their father mainly because three years ago their mother died and they could not go to his funeral.

"She got sick with diabetes, she was admitted, but she was no longer cured," Julian recalled. "But I know he is watching us from above (heaven)."

The brothers Julián and Francisco Sánchez looked forward to their father, Mr. Cruz Sánchez, whom they had not seen for 20 years. (Jacqueline García / The Opinion)

Under the midday sun, the brothers Roberto and Bruno Aguilar were also seated and nervous, who were about to see their parents after 20 years.

Roberto, 44, said that before knowing Mi Casa is Puebla he thought he would never see his parents alive again.

"But my mother looked for the information and then called us and told us that they already gave them the visa," Roberto said.

His wife Ana Sánchez said that she was very happy for Roberto since when he learned that there were 19 days left before his parents arrived, he kept telling them.

Bruno, 43, said he had a very easy and fast process with his parents as there are people who spend many years waiting for his visa.

"I feel very proud to see them, I even feel a lump in my throat," Bruno said shortly before meeting.

Bruno Aguilar with his mother whom he did not see for two decades. (Jacqueline García / The Opinion)

For the fifth consecutive year, the reunification of Puebla families is being carried out through the “Together Again” program of Mi Casa es Puebla, a government entity of the same state that assists the nationals with official documents.

Francisco J. Carrasco, representative of Mi Casa es Puebla said that the initiative is being strongly supported by the governor of Puebla, Miguel Barbosa Huerta.

"In New York it is known for having the majority of poblano, but Los Angeles is the bridge for everyone who goes there," said Carrasco. "We want to promote the poblano community here too."

Carrasco said that for families to qualify for the travel program they must be born in Puebla, be over 60 years old and at least 10 years old that parents do not see their children.

Once the parents are chosen in Puebla, the same government is responsible for paying from the visa to their round trip transportation.

Carrasco said that it is very gratifying for them to know that they are reunifying families under the rules indicated by the United States.

"In the end, it is knowing that we are jumping and breaking the anti-immigration barrier through a well-established legal path and we are achieving it," said Carrasco. "That is to score a home goal."

A group of 82 elderly parents came to meet their children temporarily in Los Angeles. (Jacqueline García / The Opinion)

Insatiable hugs

When it was time to meet again, parents, children and grandchildren began to melt into hugs without being able to let go while tears of joy rolled over them.

Esther Romero and her husband José S. Andrade hugged three of their four children tightly.

Francisco Andrade, one of the sons, said he was 17 years old from not seeing his parents and was now ready to enjoy them at his home in Indio, California.

"We want to take them out for a walk, to get to know a little," Francisco said.

Her sister Grísel Andrade, who continued to cry, said she couldn't believe such an allergy.

Mr. Buenaventura Paz and his children hugged his parents tightly, whom he had not seen for 17 years.

“There are no words to explain what I feel. My children didn't know them, ”said Paz, who is an only child. “This meeting will give me the opportunity to live with them, enjoy them, take advantage of them, hug them and give them what I have not been able to for a long time,” added the native of Coatzingo, Puebla.

Buenaventura Paz hugs her parents whom she did not see for 17 years. (Jacqueline García / The Opinion)

The parents will be one month in the United States with their respective children and then return to their native Puebla. Carrasco said that everyone received a different period of validity on their tourist visa. Some one month and others up to 10 years, so depending on each case later some parents may return to visit their children.

Carrasco said the family reunification program varies between two to four times a year, according to the resources of the government of Puebla, which is the only state in Mexico that pays all the expenses for the reunification of families.

People who are interested in knowing more about the program can visit Mi Casa es Puebla from 9am to 5pm at 328 S. Indiana Street. Los Angeles 90063 or call (323) 881-9549.


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