When Jorge Narvaez and his then 6-year-old daughter Alexa posted a YouTube video of them singing “Home” by Edward Sharpe and The Magnetic Zero, he had no idea how much their lives would change because of it.
They posted their heart-warming video on December 31, 2010. Within weeks, the video had millions of views and the pair became a YouTube sensation. It wasn’t long before they began getting invitations to appear on shows, like the Ellen DeGeneres Show and On Air with Ryan Seacrest.
Narvaez often told the story of how he tried to be the best father to his two daughters. But few people knew about the struggle he and his family were facing to bring his mother, Esther Alvarado, back home to the United States from Mexico.
Alvarado crossed the border illegally in 1987. She lived in San Diego with her three sons, who are U.S. citizens, for more than 20 years until she returned to Mexico in 2007 in order for her husband to petition for her permanent residency. When her petition was denied, she was barred from coming back to the U.S.
In April, Alvarado joined a group of women who — as part of the “Bring Them Home” campaign — turned themselves in to U.S. authorities at the Otay Mesa port of entry in San Diego. She asked for asylum and was detained.
Jorge Narvaez’s mother comes back ‘Home’
To generate support and call for his mother’s release, Narvaez re-recorded the song “Home” with his two daughters and posted it on YouTube in March. The video proved to be successful.
On Wednesday night, Alvarado was released on bail and was reunited with her family. Narvaez posted a video on YouTube, showing the emotional reunion.
“It’s amazing that she’s here,” he says on the video. “It’s surreal.”
National Immigrant Youth Alliance organizers who helped with Alvarado’s release say she was initially found not to have “credible fear” of going back to Mexico. But after her case was reconsidered, the decision was reversed and she was released.
In the video that Narvaez posted Wednesday night, Alvarado is seen hugging her family for the first time in years. She also thanks everyone who signed petitions and made calls, asking for her release.
“I don’t believe it,” she says when asked how she feels. “I feel like I’m dreaming. I don’t want to wake up.”
Narvaez says he believes his fans played a big role in helping to get his mother released. He also notes that his mother still has a court date to attend and promises to post updates of her case through social media.
He ends the video with this message to his fans:
“At one point in my life, you changed my life back in 2011 when me and Alexa did the song ‘Home.’ And now you’re helping to change my mother’s life, and that’s amazing. It just shows that when people come together and fight for something, it happens.”