Web of Americans in love with “aliens” grows

Visiting Papi: Find the American girls at a parade in Michoacan

I’ve just nailed the third solid couple to profile for my book. So far I am tracking the stories of three gringas who all fell for undocumented Mexican men. But all three stories are working out quite differently.

I’m going to keep the couples anonymous for now, until I figure out how to handle names and sourcing in the book (more on that in another post).

The first couple is a woman I attended college with who met a Mexican builder in Northern California. I actually witnessed the early days of their relationship and went to their wedding, and I’m pretty sure that’s where the idea for this book originated. But now they are living in Mexico, partly by choice.

I say partly because, while they made the decision to relocate, it was not their preferred choice. They would have preferred to build a custom home in the Bay Area, have a bunch of kids and visit grandparents in Mexico at will. But because he had been previously deported and returned illegally, he had a permanent bar from re-entry. And no gringa is going to fix that. So they are living in Mexico, built an awesome looking house there and are pregnant.

My second couple is having a tougher time navigating the system. They met in Idaho, but in December 2008, he was detained in a workplace raid. She was a few months pregnant at the time, but after a jailhouse wedding, he was deported back to rural Mexico. She tried to live down there with him and the baby, but could not adjust to the lifestyle and has since returned—pregnant again—hoping to meet up in a third country, maybe Canada.

And I just spoke with a woman from Denver whose story has worked out in a nearly fairy tale manner. She was teaching ESL classes when she met a Mexican plumber who “wanted to work on his English.” (She insists he was not her student at the time.) The two married and then applied for a hardship waiver in which, if the U.S. citizen partner can prove it would be too much of a hardship to relocate to Mexico, the prior immigration violation may be waived. This is a risky path to take because it requires a return to the home country and a visit to the U.S. Consulate in Ciudad Juarez (a trip that has other risks associated with it). They were successful, despite the lack of a super-strong hardship case, and he is now on a path to citizenship.

I am finding that each of these stories is leading me to other couples that fit this profile. If you know any couples that could help me with this project, you can reach me here.

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