Last month’s Hugs Not Walls Day marked its eighth year, and organizers said in a statement received by Daily Kos that “[a]At its core, #HugsNotWalls is an act of protest against inhumane policies and practices that rob families and individuals of the dignity, respect and safety they deserve. The events require the approval of multiple agencies, and this year was different from previous ones in that masks were required and everyone on the US side had to be vaccinated against COVID-19, Mother Jones reported.
“These precious minutes of family reunion offer a glimpse of an alternative welcoming setting for our border, New Ellis Island, and for our nation as a whole which is rooted in compassion, accountability, transparency and solidarity for build more just institutions, policies and communities ”, Border Network for Human Rights (BNHR) EExecutive Director Fernando García said in a statement received by Daily Kos. The organization co-organized the event with Reform Immigration for Texas Alliance (RITA), with the Border Agricultural Workers Center and the Department of Peace and Justice of the Catholic Diocese of El Paso co-sponsorship.
Others who live in the United States and were able to hug their families included Esmeralda Esparza, recipient of the Deferred Action for the Arrivals of Children (DACA). She was able to find her parents. Although the federal government allows some DACA recipients to apply for special authorization to travel abroad, they must demonstrate his for “humanitarian, educational or employment” purposes. And this provision was decimated under the previous administration.
For some people, hugging for just three minutes can actually be more painful than not doing it at all. Maybe for others, three minutes is more than nothing. But whatever the case, this should be a moment to reflect on the fact that it doesn’t have to be that way. There is legislation right now in Congress it would allow families to reunite and never have their hugs again with parents, siblings and other loved ones cut off by a timer. But only if we are bold and courageous enough to embrace it.
“Ultimately, #HugsNotWalls is a call to action urging us to be the best versions of ourselves, and a reminder to our leaders and all Americans that an inclusive and just future is within reach.” García continued in the statement. El Paso representative Veronica Escobar, a champion of immigrant families in the halls of Congress, also attended the event. “Today, families torn apart by our broken immigration system were able to spend a few, but invaluable, minutes hugging their loved ones, ”she said. tweeted. “It was an honor to join @border_human for #HugsNotWalls. Together, we will continue to fight for a fair immigration system.