Palomas Mensajeras: Families Reunited after Decades of Separation

Palomas Mensajeras: Families Reunited after Decades of Separation
Two girls hold signs for their grandmother’s arrival. Photo by Peter Maiden

By Elsa Mejía

Many Spanish-language folk ballads make mention of it. Headlines in recent months have brought attention to it. However, it is only the immigrant who decides to leave his or her homeland to embark on a journey toward the unknown that actually feels the heartache of leaving behind family in their quest for a better future.

On Aug. 11, the Mexican Consulate, along with the state government of Michoacan, Mexico, and its Secretariat for Migrants, hosted the third reception of Palomas Mensajeras, which means “carrier pigeons” in the Fresno Mexican Consulate. The pilot program, coordinated by the Michoacan state government, through its secretariat, began in 2017, with the purpose of reuniting Michoacan natives residing in the United States with their mothers and fathers whom they have not seen in decades.

In May, a second reception was held where 44 participants, natives of Chavinda, Michoacan, reunited with their families living in San Jose, Sacramento, Oakland, Napa, Madera, Bakersfield, Delano and Los Banos, among others.

During the third reception, an additional 19 elderly persons from Panindicuaro, Michoacan, were part of the program. They were greeted by family members with many hugs, smiles and tears. They had not seen each other in one, two and some even more than three decades. Children met their grandparents—some for the first time ever after having seen only photographs of each other. Mariachi Nuevo Rubí de Víctor Rubio performed during the reception.


Elsa Mejia is a longtime journalist and currently editor of the Community Alliance newspaper.


  • Community Alliance

    The Community Alliance is a monthly newspaper that has been published in Fresno, California, since 1996. The purpose of the newspaper is to help build a progressive movement for social and economic justice.

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