Border love: 12 couples tie the knot at migrant camp in Tijuana

Border Report Tour

TIJUANA (Border Report) — Armando Murillo and Gloria Roque arrived at the migrant camp just south of the San Ysidro Port of Entry a few months ago after fleeing what they called “non-stop violence” in the Mexican state of Michoacan.

Armando Murillo and Gloria Roque got married at the migrant camp just south of the border between San Diego and Tijuana. (Jorge Nieto/Special for Border Report)

Before arriving in Tijuana, Murillo and Roque had been together as a couple for two years.

This week, they decided to take part in an outdoor ceremony where 11 other couples, all staying at the camp, were married by a priest from New York City.

“Perhaps, it was unusual, but it was good, a good option,” Murillo said.

“The priest showed up and the opportunity presented itself, so we decided why not,” Roque added.

All the couples received a marriage certificate.

Father Fabian, the priest who performed the ceremony, said the couples will be registered as married in his church, St. Peter’s in Manhattan.

Marriage certificate given to couples married by Father Fabian. (Jorge Nieto/Special for Border Report)
A makeshift altar used by Father Fabian at a migrant camp in Tijuana. (Jorge Nieto/Special for Border Report)

“The certificates can also be used for the asylum process should they cross the border and enter the U.S.,” said Father Fabian. “The document can be used as proof they are married and are a family, it’s easier for families to get processed.”

Some of the newlyweds told Border Report the marriage certificates will come in handy and that they were grateful to Father Fabian, who had visited the camp on previous occasions and was instrumental in arranging and planning the weddings.

Father Fabian marries Rene Padilla and his bride at a migrant campsite in Tijuana. (Jorge Nieto/Special for Border Report)

“They all got their marriages blessed, some of them have been together for years, already with children, this was important to them,” he said.

For Rene Padilla, the timing could not have been better.

“We were wanting to get married for a long time, but we couldn’t find a way to stage a wedding,” he said. “And with the certificate we got, it’s legally binding, it’s going to help if we get to the other side.”

Like the others, Padilla and his new bride got married in front of a makeshift altar that supported a wooden cross and picture of the Virgin of Guadalupe.

Father Fabian also baptized and oversaw the First Communion for some children at the camp.

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