The group packed their bags and on Friday boarded a convoy of vehicles, including a converted yellow school bus, to seek refuge in Guatemala City.“We decided to leave because the Council of Elders does not want us,” said Misael Santos.My basic philosophy was that vulnerable populations like migrants should be treated with dignity and respect and that everyone should work hard to honor and follow the laws of the land.I thought to myself, "I hope if this relationship gets more serious, he goes and gets that fixed." But “getting it fixed” wasn’t really a possibility.While he had entered the States legally with a tourist visa, he had not left when he was mandated to leave. Worker visas and residency cards from a poor country like Guatemala were essentially impossible to obtain.So when we married, we became a "mixed status" family.Indigenous mothers are more than two and a half times more likely to die during childbirth.
All over the US, there are families in similar circumstances.
According to a 2012 report by the Small Arms Survey, Guatemala has the third highest rate of femicide in the world, behind only El Salvador and Jamaica.
According to official figures, 560 women were murdered in the country in 2012, 631 in 2011 and 695 in 2010, though the exact number is not known.
We were on our third date when Billy told me—hinted, really—that he was an undocumented immigrant from Central America.
I remember thinking, "Well, that's not ideal." Truth was, I had no idea what that admission really meant.