Almost three years ago, when my wife and I were entering the United States after getting married in Mexico, we were turned around at the border.
We had gotten married in December of 2017, and I had spent a couple of months in Mexico during my work's slow time of year to get to know my wife’s culture and family a little better before we moved to the States.
I had considered staying longer in Mexico, to complete my wife’s resident visa process, but after doing freelance work for a couple of months, and getting a teaching job offer at a school in Mexico, I realized that there would be no way that I could financially support us while living in Mexico.
In late December, we made the decision to move to the States and get our marriage life started there.
At the end of January, in 2018, we flew into Dallas Texas airport. I quickly made it through customs and sat down in the baggage department waiting for my wife to get through. She had to go through a separate customs and border protection area since she did not have an American passport and only a tourist visa for the US.
After about an hour of waiting for my wife, I started getting anxious. I called my family and asked them to pray, and did a Facebook live stream in my anxiety and frustration. I was sure that my wife was being detained.
Once 2 hours of waiting came, and we had long since missed our connecting flight, I got a call from an immigration officer. She said that my wife was being detained and questioned, and could not give me any more details.
When 4 hours of waiting hit, I decided to take matters into my own hands. I ran up the one-way escalator back to the port of entry area and looked around. Quickly, I found what I was sure was the detention room. There were a lot of people and a sign that said to keep out.
I walked in.
As soon as I walked through the door, an officer yelled at me, “What do you think you are doing?!” I said, “my wife is here, and I need to talk to her.”
The officer said I needed to stay outside of the room, and asked me what my wife’s name was. I told him and he went back into the detention area.
After I had waited outside for another 5 minutes, I opened the door again. “WHAT ARE YOU DOING IN HERE?!”, the officer yelled. Quickly 2 officers came and kept me from entering, forcibly pushing me out of the area.
They asked me why I was there, and I explained again that my wife was there and I needed to make sure she was ok. One officer stayed out of the detention center with me and tried to keep me calm, as the other went back in to see what was going on with my wife’s case.
Soon, the primary officer of my wife’s case came outside and talked to me. In a calm voice, he said, “we’re going to be sending your wife back to Guadalajara.”.
We didn't know, but my wife wasn’t able to travel to the US to visit me or be with me on a tourist visa. Thankfully, the officers didn’t give my wife a punishment for coming, since we did not have the correct information. (I had visited the immigration office in Portland and they had told us we could do what we were doing.) I guess they were wrong.
Fast forward three years, and here we are, just now getting my wife’s residence visa. It has been a long, and sometimes incredibly painful process. There have been many days when I wish we were in the US, other days when I was so glad that we were in Mexico. God has been faithful.
In the next article, I want to share with you how this time in Mexico has completely changed our lives for the better. Now, looking back, we wouldn’t have had this any other way.
Look out for the rest of the story!