EL PASO (CBSDFW.COM/AP) – A West Texas youth donned her cap and gown to walk across the U.S. border into Mexico and visit her deported father before graduating from high school on Sunday morning.

Leslie Silva of El Paso, in cell phone video that was shot by her sister, hugged their father Sunday at a border crossing in Ciudad Juarez, Mexico. Silva then returned to El Paso and graduated from Eastlake High School. She next plans to study nursing.

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Silva, who posted images of the encoutner online, said that her father has been deported three times, and she wanted him to see her in a cap and gown. “He missed so many things. I wanted him to be a part of something,” Silva told KDBC-TV in El Paso.

“He got really emotional. He’s not really an emotional type, but once he saw me, he started crying and I started crying. It was just a very happy moment,” Silva continued. “He was just telling me that it made him really happy that I went to go see him, that he felt honored that I did that for him.”

“After I saw him, I just felt bad, like, leaving him there, behind,” Silva added. “It feels ugly, walking away in a special moment, where he’s supposed to be.”

The El Paso Times reported that Silva’s father was caught living illegally in El Paso in 2007. He returned to Mexico, but was then deported twice more since. Silva said that she and her family visit him in Mexico often. “He tells us every day that he wants to be with us,” the girl told KDBC-TV.

Silva was surprised by the sudden attention that her story has received, but thankful. “I think people should know what we go through,” she told KDBC-TV. “It’s not as easy as they think it is, just to go get a lawyer and, like, it takes years and so many things, and we couldn’t really do that.”

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