Border Network for Human Rights, with the help of Hope Border Institute on the Mexican side of the border, held an event called #HugsNotWalls, where hundreds of individuals where able to meet and hug their family members in the middle of the Rio Grande at the El Paso/Cd. Juarez Region as an act of love and protest to denounce US border and immigration strategies that have deported millions of immigrant workers and dramatically separated families.
This event takes place at a critical moment in the history of the United States, where immigrant families are being targeted by hateful rhetoric that criminalizes them and that militarizes border communities.
The scene of families hugging and kissing each other after several years of separation was repeated multiple times. Each family carried a long story of pain and suffering along with the promise that someday they will be reunited and together again.
#HugsNotWalls campaign is demanding an urgent stop to indiscriminate deportations and calls for immigration reform that promotes family reunification, immigrant integration, the legalization of the 11 million undocumented persons that are already working and living in the United States, and ultimately guarantees the equal protection of human rights of all individuals.
This event was possible in part due to the collaboration of several entities, including the El Paso Sector Border Patrol, the International Boundary and Water Commission, Hope Border Institute, Union Pacific and others.
The Border Network for Human Rights, founded in 1998, is one of the leading human rights advocacy and immigration reform organizations located at the U.S./Mexico Border. BNHR has over 7,000 members in West Texas and Southern New Mexico.