Mother, Son Reunite after 34 Years of Separation

(San Diego, CA)- A mother and her son were reunited Sunday after being separated since 1979. Kathy Amaya, 60, and son David Amaya Barrick, 37, came in contact with each other after Barrick convinced authorities of his American citizenship after being arrested last month for crossing over to California from Mexico with undocumented immigrants.

According to, Barrick was born in a Chicago hospital and was taken to Mexico with his father in 1979, only to be raised by his paternal grandparents and only learned Spanish. Later in life, he moved to Monterrey and as a career played percussion for Norteno bands. He married and had children, but the marriage didn’t last.

After his arrest last month, he first told authorities he was Mexican, but then remembered that he was born in a Chicago hospital, like his grandparents told him. Border Patrol agents then traced his birth certificate and mother, which lead to a long-distance phone call that had to be translated by agents.

“It was very emotional,” supervisory agent Troy Matthews said. “He told her he grew up being told she abandoned him and she started crying that she was afraid they told him that and how she never stopped wanting to find him.”
Mother and son reunited in San Diego, and attended a church service at Iglesia de Cristo Ministerios Llamada Final.

“We have some catching up to do,” Amaya said after an emotional reunion at San Diego International Airport this weekend. “We’re going to do that.”

Amaya flew in from Wisconsin, and plans to take Barrick back for Thanksgiving to meet his three brothers and one sister.

“We’ll spend Thanksgiving with so much to give thanks for,” Amaya said. “It’s really overwhelming, sometimes it feels like my heart will burst.”

Both know that they have work to do in their relationship, but simple similarities-shared eyes, noses, and laugh-already have connected both.

“We are the same blood,” Amaya said. “We can figure out the rest.”

Story by: Caitlin Nearhood

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