"Oh my God," the parents whisper through tears as they open their arms. A ten-year-old boy and his seven-year-old sister run right into the arms of the parents they have no seen for four years.
The scene plays out at LAX, where the children have flown in from Texas. They were among the thousands of Central American immigrants that have crossed the border illegally, ending up in cramped detention centers.
The children were left with their grandparents when their parents came to the U.S. to find jobs. A month ago, they got a call from the boy, Angel, who told them he and his sister were in custody. They complained about being separated, sleeping on the floor and getting rashes in the cramped conditions. After two weeks, they were moved to a shelter, where they could wait together until their parents could file documents to prove their and their children's identities.
Social workers also wanted work stubs, tax returns, rental receipts. The couple sent the papers several times. An immigration rights organization also got involved. That is how, this morning, the parents ended their wait at LAX.
They hung on to one another, afraid that their children would not be among the passengers getting off the flight. But there they were, with a social worker who ended up getting as teary-eyed as everyone else around the hugging, sobbing family.
The children met their U.S.-born sibling, a three-month-old toddler. Everyone kissed and cried, then they hugged again and cried some more.
They are now on the way home. Attorneys from the immigration agencies say they will help them try to get legalized, so they can stay together in this country. The family knows it's a long shot, but that doesn't seem to bother them. They are together and that is all that matters.