Dating an illegal alien
Anna pauses, watches the dog watching the television, sighs again, louder this time. Working in eldercare, then off to a YWCA fund-raising meeting, then to her son Ernie's school for pickup, then home to make his snack, get him started on homework, and prepare a chili tamarind paste for a potluck tonight, after which she will retrieve Lucy from band practice, if Lucy will even go, given she will not be wearing the right shirt. A friend needs her to run by the grocery, pick up some supplies for the dinner. She hangs up, scribbles "apples, forks" on her to-do list.
For two years, he stayed put in the border state of Sonora, looking for work. Before Manuel's unemployment, the family enjoyed a relaxed, pleasurable lifestyle. She and her husband had couples game nights every week. The family vacationed in the United States, coming over during Christmas to visit her mother—a citizen by marriage—and shop.He stayed past its expiration after he found work as a janitor and day laborer. "I tried to find any job I could in Mexico so he could return," Anna explains. She was handing her paperwork to Border Patrol when a wave of commotion began to ripple through the crowd. A letter came back confirming that fact, and telling her to go ahead and apply for the visa."I applied to waitress, hostess, but I was 'overqualified.' At Carl's Jr., I was told I was too old. According to the Border Patrol guards, one cousin had an outstanding medical bill in the States. After hours of questioning, everyone present had their tourist visas revoked. "I wasn't responsible for my cousin's bill. So she filled out the onerous paperwork, deciphering the convoluted governmental lingo, and waited. I just prayed and tried to act normal, like a tourist." The officer smiled, said "Good morning," and waved Anna and her entourage through. I didn't want that for my kids." She wipes her tears with her fingertips, exhales slowly through her mouth. "We are like a blur, racing everywhere, doing everything, trying to survive. She likes Maroon 5 and caramel lattes from Starbucks and wishes she were a little thinner. "My girlfriends and I are always on the move," Anna says, pulling her hair into a loose bun. Anna is your typical overextended working mother—volunteering and taking care of her family, including her mom, who suffers from arthritis.
Though Anna and her family had saved wisely, 24 months with no income proved devastating. My kids were suffering." It was during one of these routine family visits in 2003 that something unusual happened.