Cross-border wedding held as California 'Door of Hope' opens

Evelia Reyes, along with her daughter, watches at the "Door of Hope," part of the for the border fence, for her fiance, Brian Houston, of San Diego, to walk up for their wedding in San Diego. Nov. 18 (Howard Lipin//The San Diego Union-Tribune via AP)

A United States man and a Mexican woman have wed between the doors of a steel border gate that is opened for only an hour or so every year.

Saturday's wedding at Border Field State Park in San Diego was a first for an opening of the gate known as the Door of Hope. 

Evelia Reyes, wearing a white wedding dress with train and veil, embraced Brian Houston of San Diego after signing documents that made them husband and wife.

"It's a statement that love has no borders," Houston told the San Diego Union-Tribune. "Even though we are divided by a giant fence here, we can still love each other on both sides of the fence."

Houston, a U.S. citizen, said he couldn't go into Tijuana for reasons he declined to explain but spoke daily with his bride. The couple has an attorney who is trying to obtain a green card for Reyes to join Houston in the U.S., Houston said, although that could take more than a year.

Border Patrol agents opened the gate in the border wall at noon for an hour, allowing waiting family members from the U.S. to walk partly through and meet and embrace relatives in Mexico for a scant three minutes each before tearfully saying goodbye.

It was the sixth time that the gate has opened since 2013, allowing people from the U.S. and Mexico who cannot legally cross the border to visit without fear of deportation. At other times, families can talk but not touch through the steel fencing.

To arrange the wedding, the couple worked with Enrique Morones, executive director of the Border Angels group that organizes the gate openings.

The group takes meeting requests from families and forwards the names to the State Department, which conducts checks and makes the final decision on who will be allowed to briefly reunite, Morones said.

The gate opening took place about 15 miles west of where the eight prototypes for President Donald Trump's wall have been built.

"While some people want to build walls, we want to open doors," Morones said.