DOWNTOWN LOS ANGELES - A dream come true unfolded at Los Angeles City Hall as a nonprofit group was able to reunite undocumented immigrant families with their aging relatives in Mexico.
Club Pueblos Unidos de Nayarit has several chapters in Southern California that fundraise for hospitals and send money to loved ones in western Mexico.
On Mother's Day last year, the group hatched a plan to lobby Mexican legislators and the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services Department to approve a humanitarian visa.
A group of 17 family members, mostly aging parents, were vetted by ICE and Homeland Security for a two-week stay in the Southland.
"We are stressed, we haven't been sleeping. We have been thinking about everything. We are stressed over happiness of knowing that they are coming," said Carmelita Jacobo, whose husband had not seen his mother in 17 years.
The gathering broke into cheers as the loved ones entered the room followed by hugs and tears.
Fabiola Hernandez, of Baldwin Park, said she came to the U.S. with no assurance she would ever see her parents again. She said in Spanish that it was more difficult than she imagined. Now she is married with three children. She said that their future is more important than her suffering.
The event was hosted at City Hall by City Councilman Gil Cedillo, who pushes for the passage of DACA and immigration reform.
"There is no border, there is no wall that can stop the love of families. We need to recognize that as a country our values are for unity of family," Cedillo said.
Organizers said that they hope to expand their efforts to other states in Mexico.