Imagine not seeing your parents for some 15 to 20 years? That has been the fate of many Southern California residents who came here to this country from the Mexican state of Zacatecas. While they have raised their kids here in the U.S. they have been unable to see their parents, who stayed behind in Mexico.
Yesterday however a number of families from Zacatecas were flown here to the U.S. with humanitarian visas which will allow them to stay here for up to six months. They took a bus from the airport to El Zocalo, the Mexican restaurant and nightclub owned by Mike Gonzales, who is running for Santa Ana’s Ward 2.
During a ceremony that took place at El Zocalo each of the visiting parents was reintroduced to their sons and daughters, who were thrilled to be able to introduce their kids to grandparents they had never met. As you can imagine there were a lot of hugs and tears.
I was honored to participate in the ceremony and I had a chance to talk to the participants afterwards. One lady told me that she was here to see her father, who she had not seen in 42 years. He is now 95 and she is looking forward to caring for him as he has been in a retirement home with no family to visit him. She wants to stay here long so I suggested she talk to U.S. Rep. Lou Correa.
The event was the culmination of months of hard work by the Federacion de Clubs Zacatecanos, which have chapters all over California. Their counterparts in Mexico have spent a lot of time working with their government and with the U.S. embassy to obtain the humanitarian visas.
Zacatecas is one of the 31 states which, with the Federal District, comprise the 32 Federal Entities of Mexico. It is divided into 58 municipalities and its capital city is Zacatecas City. The state is best known for its rich deposits of silver and other minerals, its colonial architecture and its importance during the Mexican Revolution. Its main economic activities are mining, agriculture and tourism.
One of the fathers who came here from Zatecas told me he will only be staying a few days. He has crops to tend to back home!