Maythe and T.J. married in San Diego a dozen years ago. But Maythe is barred from the US.
As Washington debates immigration reform, much of the focus is on proposals that would offer illegal immigrants a path to citizenship. Here, we focus on one pathway that many people think is already there: That is, the notion that a non-citizen even if undocumented, receives immediate legal residency by simply marrying a US citizen. Not so simple, under a 1996 immigration law. Part of that law was aimed at bogus marriages, where a couple would simply pretend to marry for love, when the only goal was to get citizenship for the undocumented party. But the law has also ended up penalizing legitimate couples, forcing them to live apart, split by a maze of restrictions and penalties. Reporter Amy Isackson, in collaboration with the California Report and the Center for Public integrity, brings us one family’s story.