An emotional family reunion took place just across the border in Mexico when a Texas teen walked over to present her parents, who had been deported several years ago, her high school diploma.
Ruth Gutierrez can be seen hugging her parents in a heart-wrenching video that she shared on Twitter and Facebook. All of them couldn’t hold back their tears at this reunion that marked not only the first time they had seen each other in five years but also celebrated the fact that she was now a high school graduate.
In a Facebook post, Gutierrez recounted the hardships she encountered when her father was deported back to Mexico when she was just 13. Her mother soon followed since she didn’t have the necessary papers to allow her to stay legally.
A week after her dad’s deportation, her mother gave her the choice of staying in Mexico or going back to Texas. And that’s when she made the gut-wrenching decision to finish school in the US even if it meant she had to be without her parents.
She wrote: “While being there [in Mexico] I had to make the hardest choice I’ve ever made in my entire life. Stay with my family or come back to the US to have a better future. [Five] years later.
“And I’m now 18 years old and a recent high school graduate.”
There was a moment when she became “a little uncomfortable” as she strode towards the border post because her shoe broke. But then she remembered the sacrifices her parents made when they had first left Mexico in the hopes of finding a better future for their children in the United States.
She continued: “I was able to walk across the border in my cap and gown for my parents to see me. Throughout that walk, something strange happened.
“If you notice closely on the video one of my sandals tore making my walk a little uncomfortable. But that simply made me reflect on just a little part of the huge sacrifice our Hispanic parents make when crossing illegally to the United States for us.
“Crossing from any part of Mexico to the United States is one of the most dangerous things to do. A lot of Hispanic parents sometimes don’t make it out alive or they get caught by border patrol and get sent to an ICE detention center.”
But living without her parents actually made her grow up quickly.
“Going to school all these years, growing up, becoming a teenager, and learning about life without my parents by my side; nor being able to just run to their arms when I’ve needed them the most from time to time, has been one of the hardest feelings I’ve gone through and still go through till this day.
“It’s something so hard that I can’t explain because no one could ever possibly understand unless you actually go through it. I wouldn’t wish this upon my worst enemy.”
But more than what she learned in school, the lesson that she valued the most was the one that taught her to appreciate her parents.
“The biggest lesson and the best advice I can give any teenager is if you have your parents close, appreciate them, cherish them and love them for the time you have because it can be taken away from you in a blink of an eye.”