EL PASO, Texas (KTSM) – The bi-annual event that united hundreds of local families separated by the border for a few minutes has been canceled, according to organizers.
The Border Network for Human Rights (BNHR) says #HugsNotWalls, which was scheduled for this Saturday, was canceled after border agencies created obstacles that didn’t allow for the event to take place.
“This event, which would have seen 150 separated immigrant families come together at Sunland Park-Anapra, is the latest casualty to the Trump Administration’s sustained assault against communities and migrants at the U.S.-Mexico border,” Executive Director Fernando Garcia said.
#HugsNotWalls is held every May and October but was also canceled in October after CBP officials cited construction of the new border fencing as a reason that the fall event could not be held as scheduled.
Since its inception, #HugsNotWalls has reunited more than 1,300 separated families for a few precious minutes by opening the border gates along the Rio Grande River near Downtown. This weekend’s event was moved to Sunland Park – Anapra to accommodate for the ongoing border fencing construction project near the Paso Del Norte Bridge.
According to BNHR, the cancelation was due, in part, to the emergency declaration by the Trump Administration. The non-profit says they’ve had years of “substantive dialog” between border communities and Border Patrol but the relationship has recently soured as a result of new border policies.
Organizers with BNHR are now calling for the community to join them for a protest march on Saturday, May 25 at 8:30 a.m. at Chihuahuita Park located at 400 Charles Road. The group plans to march through downtown towards Armijo Park, located at 710 E. 7th Avenue to “decry to the inhumanity of the Trump Administration and demand an American that truly values hugs, not walls.”