Dulce Serrano went to Friendship Park in Border Field State Park on Sunday, June 23, to see her mother for the first time in five years and to introduce her to her boyfriend.
Friendship Park is the recently reopened area in the security zone next to the fence separating the U.S. and Mexico, just south of Imperial Beach, where people have been gathering for 40 years to visit with friends and family across the national boundary.
Serrano was in for a surprise: boyfriend Uriel Sanchez brought his parents, other family members, and a diamond ring and proposed to Serrano.
The ring almost didn't make it; Sanchez's brother had it and he was late. The small secured area is open from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturdays and Sundays, but the Border Patrol agent on duty let the group stay in the area for a few minutes past two, until the brother arrived with the engagement ring.
Serrano caught her breath and then cried as Sanchez dropped to his knees and proposed in front of his soon-to-be in-laws, his own family, and Serrano's daughter. Her mom and grandmother in Tijuana gave their blessing to the union.
Priests from both sides of the fence, still there for the 1 p.m. binational Sunday service, blessed the couple and their families. The Sanchez family kissed and hugged each other, strangers, and the Border Patrol agent on the way out.