Program Brings 100 Emotional Mexican Family Reunions

(Photo collage via El Diario de Mexico)

(Photo collage via El Diario de México)

[Below are excerpts from a story by Diario de México USA’s Héctor Calderón.]

After many years without seeing each other, families separated due to reasons of immigration status met again in an emotional event at Brooklyn Borough Hall, where the welcome ceremony for the beneficiaries of the Raíces de Puebla program was held.

Teary-eyed Poblanos – Pueblans – embraced their loved ones and gave flowers and balloons to their parents.

Alfonso Chipilán-Morán, originally from San Juan Epatlán, came to see his mother for the first time in 12 years.

“I am very moved,” he said. “One of the plans I have in mind is to throw a party for some 20 people, including grandchildren, cousins and friends of the family.”

During the event, Mexico’s consul general in New York, Diego Gómez-Pickering, thanked Puebla governor Rafael Moreno-Valle for his efforts.


Patricia Ruiz-Navarro, executive director of the Mi Casa Es Puebla Nueva York organization, based in New York and Passaic, New Jersey, said: “Having all of them reunited here fills us with joy because many of them are meeting new relatives, including grandchildren. I am grateful to the team who made this event possible.”

The second edition of the Raíces de Puebla program will benefit 100 families from the tri-state area in addition to the 100 families from Los Angeles, California, who received support in September through Mi Casa Es Puebla’s local offices.


(Photo via Reporte Hispano)

(Photo via Reporte Hispano)

[Below are excerpts from a story by Gery Vereau on Reporte Hispano, about the Raíces de Puebla ceremony in New Jersey.]

Antonio Tépoz-Grande, 79, is having the thrill of his life because this week he was able to embrace, dine with and talk with his children and grandchildren, 23 years after they crossed the border seeking a better life in the United States.

“I’m real happy to see them all,” said Antonio, from the town of Santa Isabel Cholula in the state of Puebla, Mexico. Of his nine children, seven now live in the U.S., scattered between West New York and New Brunswick in New Jersey, and Pennsylvania.

At his daughter Gloria Tépoz’s house on Palisade Avenue in West New York, Hudson County, it is literally impossible to sleep due to the constant family visits from cousins, grandchildren and children who drop by to meet the Poblano, who arrived in the U.S. on Sunday alongside the parents of other immigrants living in New Jersey thanks to the program Raíces de Puebla.

“It was very emotional to see my dad, hug him and have him by my side. Many mixed feelings. So much time without seeing each other. Now all of us in the family are just going to pamper him,” Gloria told Reporte Hispano. “We are about to go to our cousin Flor Rocío’s in Queens, who has prepared a delicious dinner for him but with secret dishes. We don’t know what she made.”

The family has planned to take the patriarch, who back home works in the fields, to visit the Statue of Liberty, take a walk in Times Square and along Manhattan’s streets, and visit his children’s homes in New Jersey in the three weeks he will be visiting.

In Red Bank, Monmouth County, Marisol Jerónimo-Luna, another beneficiary of the program, was getting ready to honor her dad, Fernando Jerónimo-Grande, with a barbecue. In the last 16 years, she had only heard his voice.

“It’s not the same to talk on the phone to having him live, talking to him, feeling him,” said Marisol, who is one of Don Fernando’s five children. They will have lunch together, joined by her siblings Benjamín and Guadalupe, and they will remember their brothers Simón and Domingo, both of whom are in Mexico.

On the other side of the state, in the city of Garfield, Bergen County, Violeta Mitzcóatl-Zecua is happy to have her mother María Bernardina Zecua, with her. She last saw her when she said goodbye in 1999 before migrating to the U.S.

“It’s a great day for me. All the gold in the world could not pay for this moment of happiness,” said Violeta. Her house has been in party mode ever since Doña María arrived but, on Oct. 28, when her daughter Chantal turns 7, she will go all out.

The Raíces de Puebla program seems to have sparked the hopes of Poblanos: Between Sunday and press time, 400 people have applied to bring their relatives over to visit, said Patricia Ruiz, director of Mi Casa Es Puebla New York-New Jersey.

“With this program, the Puebla government wants to give a human face to migration and to offer migrants, who have made such a great effort to send remittances back to help their families and who are unable to travel due to their immigration status, a chance to reunite with their relatives whom they haven’t seen for 15, 20 or 30 years,” said Ruiz.

During its test run, the program brought 18 people to the U.S. This second time, 87 parents came to the tri-state area – 24 of whom had children living in New Jersey – and 90 others traveled to Los Angeles, where Mi Casa Es Puebla has another branch. The organization, which reports to the government of the state of Puebla, plans to carry out a third round before the end of the year. (…)

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