Before she crossed the stage to receive her high school diploma, Leslie Silva had to cross the U.S.-Mexico border.
She wanted her father, Mario Silva, to be one of the first to see her in her cap and gown.
See, Silva lives in El Paso, and her father lives in Juárez, right across the border. Their family lived together in El Paso until authorities deported Mario, who was undocumented, in 2007, the El Paso Times reported.
Sign Up and Save
Get six months of free digital access to the Star-Telegram
That made the moment he saw Leslie, in her purple gown and orange sash at the Ysleta-Zaragoza international bridge all the more meaningful.
"He was so happy. He started crying, and I've never seen him cry," Leslie told the Times. "He said he felt really honored and he thought it was really nice of me to go see him before my graduation ceremony."
And Ingrid caught all the emotion on video. Leslie tweeted the video on Monday after graduating Sunday morning.
As of Wednesday morning, the moment had been retweeted nearly 67,000 times and liked more than 270,000 times. The original video had been viewed more than 3.8 million times.
"Oh, daddy," she says as she goes in for un fuerte abrazo — or a big hug. "You're going to make me cry."
Leslie told McClatchy she hopes the video helps viewers understand what it's like to be part of a separated family.
"We're not the only ones that go through it, and there are a lot of people that go through it but really don't say anything," Leslie told KVIA. "They can relate to it."
Some of the thousands of replies to her tweet were from recent grads who also live in separated families.