Multi-American | How immigrants are redefining 'American' in Southern California

PRI talks to members of the 'Deportees Wives Club'

Public Radio International's The World featured a piece today on mixed-status marriages, talking to the wives of undocumented husbands and detailing how some have coped with deportation and their fear of it. Contrary to popular belief, if is very difficult for an undocumented immigrant to adjust immigration status through marriage, especially if he or she entered illegally.

Some spouses of deportees have moved abroad with their partners; one U.S.-born woman and her husband decided to move to Juarez voluntarily from Arizona, where she said they lived in fear. Many of these women have bonded online, sharing their experiences. Some have started blogs, like Giselle Stern Hernandez, who writes The Deportee's Wife. She now travels between Mexico, where her husband lives, and Northern California. From the story:

When Hernández met her husband Roberto in 1999, they assumed marriage would negate his undocumented status. But when they showed up to file for his residency, they realized they were wrong.

"We went to the offices of the Chicago Immigration and Naturalization Services," Hernández said. "We filled out some paperwork and half an hour later I was looking at him from behind bulletproof glass."

Roberto was immediately deported to Mexico and banned from the US for 20 years.