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Till Deportation Do Us Part?

 February 3, 2021 at 6:03 AM PST

When Emma Sanchez heard a judge say she couldn’t go home... At first, the words just did not register …. Emma Clip 14 - 1 I didn't know what was going to happen. I didn't think it was real what I was hearing. She didn’t think it was real...but eventually….it sunk in…. Emma was being barred from going back to the U.S. for 10 years.… Despite the fact that she was living there with her three kids, all U.S. citizens, and she was married to a Marine vet. BEAT Once her new reality hit her, Emma plunged into despair… She didn’t want to drag her husband down with her. So, she told him to just….go…. Emma Clip 14 - 2 I told my husband, well lets get divorced. How am I gonna live here, and you over there? *crying* it was very hard. She insisted they should get a divorce. And he should find a new, easier life without her in it. BEATS Deported Artist Clip 17 I wasn't sure what was going to happen to me once I was going to be released. Javier Salazar served his time... For the last few years of his 12-year sentence, he’d even risked his life fighting some of California’s biggest fires as an inmate firefighter. But immigration officials...they didn’t care...about Javier’s fire fighting, or time served. They wanted him gone. Deported Artist Clip 20 ICE came and get me. And they formally rearrested me and they took me into an ICE detention. Eventually, Javier was put on a bus… Tijuana. BEAT Terrified…. and heartbroken.... He had to leave his family... behind. Deported Artist Clip 27 you know, it's, it's hard to survive out here. it was hard to deal with my separation anxiety and being part of a separated family. BEAT From KPBS and PRX, this is “Port of Entry.” Where we tell cross-border stories...that connect us. I’m Alan Lilienthal. BEAT Today….we continue our series on cross-border love stories…. with two couples separated by that border….And the love keeping them together. BEAT FADE MIDROLL 1 BEAT Stories about families separated while trying to cross the U.S.-Mexico border really started making international headlines back in 20-17. NEWS MONTAGE That’s when the Trump administration first piloted a program that separated migrant parents from their children as a cruel way to try to deter migration. CLIP OF KID SEPARATED FROM PARENTS CLIP OF PROTESTS IN SAN DIEGO Protests against the policy popped up in San Diego, and across the country. So...this Trump policy was by far the most brazen example of how the U.S.-Mexico border separates families... But..actually... U.S. immigration policies have been driving wedges between families for a very long time. BEAT FADE NEW BEAT Emma Clip 4 I felt like it was beautiful, wonderful. That’s Emma again, describing how much she liked the U.S. when she first crossed. All the streets were so clean, everything nice, the stores were huge, the people were nice, I loved it, the people, the place….loved it. Emma Sanchez came from Mexico to the U.S. after she got certified to be a dental technician in Guadalajara. She tried to get a job here… But her certification didn’t count in the U.S. So...instead….she started taking English classes. Emma Clip 4 I fell in love with the place. But I had my idea to go back to Mexico, I thought maybe one day I'll come back for vacation. Emma says she fell in love with the U.S....But she didn’t plan to stay without going through the proper immigration channels. She says it sorta...just…never happened. BEAT Michael Clip 3 First time I saw her like, wow, nice lady. She was walking...very nicely walk, uh, said, hi respectfully. You know? Part of the blame falls on this guy... Michael Paulsen. Michael Clip 3.5 And I just looked at and said, wow, nice looking girl. And I said, but I'm too old for her 10 years older than she was. Emma Clip 10 I thought he looked a little older, but very handsome (laughs) BEAT Emma Clip 9 I would see him through the door of the auto shop and he would go back and forth and I would see his hair shining in the sun and he would be on the phone and walk by and say hi. BEAT This was 21 years ago… Michael didn’t speak much Spanish back then. And Emma didn’t speak any English. But the two went out anyway… To communicate, they used a little translation device that Emma had from one of her English classes. Michael Clip 4 yeah, there was like some mix ups with words, we started dating. It was hombre and hambre and I didn’t know the difference. Um, hambre is hungry. And hombre means a guy and I thought she wanted another guy and I'm going, huh. And it turned out she was hungry and everything. So that was kind of embarrassing. Laughs. Alan Laughs. BEAT A few dates into their relationship… Emma told Michael she was undocumented. Michael Clip 6 she broke it to me maybe and said, I don't have papers. And I said, I don't care. I said, you're here in the United States. At that point, it was too late...he was just totally, hopelessly in love. BEAT Just two short months after they first met on that day back in 2000…. Michael made his move. Michael Clip 8 I got on my knee and I said, will you marry me? And I gave her an engagement ring. And she looked at me and she screamed. She goes, yes. And I said, Oh good. Laughs. BEAT TRANSITION Emma and Michael got married in a civil ceremony in Vista...a city in southern California. Not long after that, they had their first baby. Then another….and then one more...all boys. For the most part…. Fixing Emma’s immigration status just sorta fell off the couples’ list of priorities. The babies kept them very busy. Emma Clip 5 I think when you're young nothing matters that much, you're very adventurous, you don't really think about consequences. Ah everything is light, everything is fine, all good.So..I wasn't worried at all about not having papers, I wasn't worried of, "Oh the border patrols is gonna get me, I'm gonna get deported" I never thought about that. Emma says she was young and she really didn’t think being undocumented was that big of a deal…. Michael thought they’d eventually get around to addressing the problem… And, since they were married, they both assumed it’d be an easy fix. Michael Clip 7 Yeah...I thought it was going to be a walk in the park BEAT Michael Clip 7 and boy was I surprised. Laughs. BEAT FADE ****** Deported Artist Clip 2 I was born in Tijuana, Baja California. My mother brought me to Oakland, California when I was about seven months old….. To Javier Salazar, Oakland is home. BEAT It’s where he grew up from the time he was a baby. And even though his Mexican mom only spoke Spanish in the house... and kept her Mexican customs and traditions alive… He says he’s always felt just as American as all his homies. Deported Artist Clip 3 one of my first memories, uh, of my first day in school was that my teacher introduced me to the class in English. And at that time I remembered that I understood her perfectly and I was able to communicate with the class in English. So I'm not too sure when I remembered, uh, English, but I, I believe I picked it up in playing outside with my friends as a little kid. Deported Artist Clip 4 To me, there was no difference between me and my friends. Um, you know, I didn't, I thought I didn't see any difference. BEAT FADE But Javier eventually learned that he was a little different than his friends. Like Emma…. He was undocumented… And he found that out in this really bizarre...and frankly...sorta crazy way. Deported Artist Clip 5 when I was 11 years old. My mother took me to a family party, was a quinceanera right here in Tijuana. So they brought me over here. Um, we were over here for about a week. And on the way back, everybody was loading up in the van to go home, to go back to Oakland. Uh, I try to get in the van and my mom kinda cut me short and she was like, Whoa, you're not gonna go with us in the van. And I was like, well, why not. And she ttold me, well, you don't have any papers. So you're going to have to try to cross the border with your cousin and we're going to wait for you on the side. Deported Artist Clip 5 And at the time, you know, I was shocked, you know, I didn't. I never knew that I was undocumented right? BEAT So...this was clearly an irresponsible thing for a mom to do to her son. But...this was back in the 90s...and even though there were lots of better ways to get across... you gotta understand that the border was just a different beast back then. I mean, there wasn’t even a finished border fence here in San Diego until 1993. And even then, the border was still pretty easy to cross... With or without papers. Deported Artist Clip 7 We ended up trying to cross through the, through the hills. Everybody was running, um, border patrol, the helicopter, they were on, um, they were on horses and ATVs, and I remember I got separated from a cousin. I was, I was 11 years old. Uh, I remember hiding in a ravine and the helicopter found me and, um, they arrested me and they took me to, uh, to like little immigration jail. They had me there overnight. I was there, um, just for processing and they kicked me out the next morning. At the time, I was like the only kid in, in the holding cell. They had me in there with all the adults. And so when they released me, um, I kind of find my way back to my grandparents and my grandparents took me to the border then same night and I tried it again. And the next time I made it across. BEATS When Javier turned 16, he finally fixed his immigration status. He went back to Mexico for a short time, then applied to be a permanent resident. Once he was approved, he moved right back to Oakland, ready to get on with his life. BEAT By the time Javier was in his early 20s, he was working two jobs. He had his own apartment. And he had a girlfriend who he really loved. It wasn’t a glamorous life. But he was happy enough. His girlfriend...though...struggled with health problems...pretty severe seizures. And one day…. He found her, unconscious on the floor. Deported Artist Clip 11 I was living with her for almost five years. One day I just went outside to walk the dog and I came back and I just found her like, okay, it looked like she had a stroke. I was kind of like in shock to tell the truth. Um, I called the ambulance. the ambulance came and, um, they were trying to resuscitate her. They took her to the hospital and by the time I got to the hospital, she was already, um, gone. BEAT Javier still remembers how his girlfriend’s hand was clenched up tight...frozen in a fist that day he found her on the apartment floor. It’s a moment that’s burned into his brain….forever... He says he just broke. Deported Artist Clip 12 something happened inside of me. Deported Artist Clip 12 …. I got really depressed. Deported Artist Clip 12 I had all these emotions inside of me. I didn't know how to deal with. BEATS Javier just stopped caring. He was just 24, but he couldn’t see a future without his girlfriend in it. Deported Artist Clip 13 So I started, you know, I fell into doing drugs and, you know, just fell in the bad crowd and. To tell you the truth at the time, I was like in a self-destruct mode, you know, when I would cross the street I wouldn't look before I crossed I wasn't trying to commit suicide, but in my heart, I was like, what, if the car hits me when I cross the street...well...I don't really care anymore, you know? BEAT TRANSITION Deported Artist Clip 14 I started stealing to support my habit. Just three months after Javier switched into self-destruct mode... He landed in prison. Deported Artist Clip 14 I started stealing to support my habit. BEAT He got a 12-year sentence for robbing a convenience store and walking away with $300. BEAT He had a gun on him…..he didn’t use the gun.. But just the fact that he had it meant a mandatory 10-year minimum sentence. BEAT FADE Deported Artist Clip 15 So I had a lot of time to think of, of what happened. And I had a lot of time to reflect and to change my way of thinking. You know, when I was, when I was incarcerated, you know, I tried to take advantage of all the programs that they had to offer.I finally had the opportunity to get my GED. And there was one other big change for Javier, too... Midway through his first year behind bars…. Something...unexpected happened. Deported Artist Wife Clip 2 I started dreaming that he kept on telling me to go to his mom's house. It was weird. BEAT/MOOD CHANGE This is Joanna Garcia. Deported Artist Wife Clip 2 And I would wake up from my dream and went back to sleep and the dream would continue. So I decided to go look for his mom and try to get his information so I could write to him. And we did, and we went to visit. I wanted to see and help out and support him in any way possible that I could, because he was always there when I needed him. BEAT Javier and Joanna have known each other since they were kids. They were such good friends that Joanna asked Javier to be the godfather of one of her three kids she has with an ex. And...during those early visits to prison…And through the letters they exchanged… They both started seeing each other as a little more than just friends. BEAT Deported Artist Wife Clip 3 We would write and he made me feel comfortable. BEAT Deported Artist Clip 23 she started to come in to visit me. We started making that connection that we finally, uh, got together as a couple, you know, so she was, she was there with me throughout my whole incarceration. And she's been here for me, uh, during this whole process. Deported Artist Clip 24 Alan: That’s amazing. Must've been a strong, strong love. Javier: Yes. Well, I knew I knew her for a long time, you know, so I really cared for her a lot already. So it wasn't, um, it, wasn't hard to, to fall in love with her, you know. BEAT Deported Artist Wife Clip 3 I felt the need that, you know, he had for somebody to care for him. And I felt that he cared for me…...So, you know, I decided that, you know, I was going to go through with this….not knowing what was, what was going to happen, not knowing he was going to get deported. Um, but I just went through with it. BEAT We gotta take a break. But when we come back… How both couples kept their love alive despite being physically separated by the border. BEAT FADE MIDROLL 2 So, back to Michael and Emma… The couple was married, raising their three young boys in Southern California. And they were happy... But they also knew...they had to get her citizenship straightened out. By the time their third baby was born, they had filed all their paperwork. And...after a long wait…. she finally got word that she would need to travel outside the country… To an appointment with immigration authorities at the U.S. Consulate in Ciudad Juarez...the Mexican border town just south of El Paso. This was back in 2006... Michael Clip 11 And it didn't dawn on me; Monday was going to be six, six, six, June 6th, 2006. And I was like, boy, that's a bad day. And sure enough, it turned out to be the worst days of my life. BEAT Michael Clip 11 Immigration told her, told us that she has to wait out of the country 10 years before she is entitled to reapply to come into the country. And I said, well, I'm married to her. I have three boys. What am I going to do? He goes, I, um, I have nothing to say for you, sir. I'm sorry. That's the way the law is. And, uh, I can't help you out. That's it… BEATS Emma had entered the United States without papers in 2000. Before that, she had attempted to walk through the San Ysidro Port of Entry, but border agents turned her away. The judge looked at her case as though she had two illegal entries… So, he barred her from re-entering the United States for a decade. BEATS Emma decided she’d take the kids to live in Los Cabos.. Where her brother worked as a doctor. Emma Clip 16 - 1 Gosh you can't imagine how hard it was when I left Juarez, BEAT Emma Clip 16 - 2 the whole way super depressed, I couldn't stop crying, like Magdalena suffering, Emma is saying here that she couldn’t stop crying...and she says she was super depressed… Her oldest boy was 5 at the time.. her middle child 3, and her baby... just a few months old. At first, the kids were fine. They just thought they were on a vacation. But...after a few weeks, they started really missing their dad. Emma Clip 17 They started saying, “mami where’s my daddy, i wanna see my daddy” And I was like, How am I gonna tell them, such young kids, that they're not going to live with their daddy, I didn't know how to explain it. Emma’s saying the kids started asking about their dad...asking when they could see him again... BEAT FADE Michael, of course, missed his kids and wife, too. He called almost every single day... Michael Clip 14 We had sprint telephone bills, like thousand $500 a month. It was ridiculous. Michael Clip 15 long story short. Uh, I said, this isn't working, I need my boys and my wife close to me. I can't even see them growing up and, you know, and uh, I said, I'm going to do something about it. So I went online and I started checking out places in Tijuana for rent. And I found one for a 500 a month and 500 deposit. And I talked to the owner and I met him and I gave him a deposit and, gave him the first month's rent. He gave me the keys and then I called Emma I said, I have a place.come on. Up from Cabos to Tijuana. That way you’re closer to me. BEAT/TRANSITION Deported Artist Clip 31 My neighborhood out here La Sanchez Taboada, um, has a really bad reputation BEAT Deported Artist Clip 31 right? It's considered like one of the most dangerous neighborhoods in all of Tijuana.... On Nov. 20, 20-14, Javier was just a few weeks out of prison… And instead of getting to go home to be with Joanna and the kids... He was deported to Mexico. BEAT He walked off a bus in San Diego..." Through the big steel U.S.-Mexico border fence… And into Tijuana. BEAT All he had on him was his legal paperwork and a few photos. Mexican immigrant officials handed him a calling card and a bagged lunch and that was it. BEAT I mean...imagine this moment for a sec. You walk through the gate… Into a country you might have left when you were just a baby…. No idea where your next meal is coming from. Completely unimaginable… gives me anxiety. BEAT Luckily for Javier, though...Joanna had gone ahead and got him a place to live in Tijuana and was there waiting for him. Deported Artist Clip 29 it's always easier when somebody is there who loves you and supports you 100, But she had to scramble to get the place…. so it isn’t in the safest neighborhood. Deported Artist Clip 31 Alan: You ever feel danger? Like you did it. Javier: I live with danger. Um, I have to deal with it. You know, I can, that danger paralyze me, but it does play a big part of everything I do. For example, I don't go out at night. I try to do everything I have to do in the daytime, so I won't have to go out at night BEAT They talked about having Joanna and the kids move to live with him in Tijuana… But, Joanna has a job she loves and her kids are happy… So, it just doesn’t make any sense… Instead, for the last seven years, Joanna and the kids try to visit Javier as often as they possibly can.. Most of the time, she’ll drive the nine hours it takes to get from her house in the Oakland area to Javier’s apartment in Tijuana… It’s exhausting and expensive. And the physical and emotional stress has taken a toll... Deported Artist Wife Clip 15 so, um, through all this process, it's been also hard on our. On my, on my body, I can say, besides the car drives, we lost two babies in the process. Our first, baby was a boy and we lost him in February, 2016. And then we lost our daughter when I was four and a half months almost in,, June of 2017. At one point, Joana didn’t think their relationship would survive. Deported Artist Wife Clip 17 It's hard. It's still hard…. one day we just said, you know, we need to sit down and really talk and is this going to work? Or should we just, you know, be friends and you find somebody out there and we find somebody out here BEATS/TRANSITION ***** Emma moved up to Tijuana from Los Cabos with her three boys… Into the house Michael had rented the family. BEAT It’s estimated that thousands of families use Tijuana the way Emma and Michael did… As a place that allows families to keep living their lives together… Even though they’re separated by a border wall… BEAT Michael worked two jobs back in San Diego to help pay the extra rent. He kept his house in Vista. An hour drive north of the border. So he could be close to his jobs. Emma says the Tijuana house was, quote, “as big as her loneliness.” Emma Clip 15 Just as big as the house was, that's how big my loneliness was. Emma Clip 18 I tried to not cry, sometimes I would hide in the bathroom and cry so they wouldn't see me, I would tell them mommy is in time out, mommy cant go to where daddy is. Until Im not in time out, She’s saying she would try not to cry, but when she couldn't help it, she would lock herself in the bathroom so her kids wouldn’t see.. BEAT Michael and Emma wanted the boys to get educated in the U.S. So, one by one, as the boys grew up... They moved back to the U.S. to live with Michael and start school. Eventually Emma….was left all alone… Emma Clip 22 I thought I always had to be active my mind so I wouldn't go crazy so I wouldnt get depressed. I never thought about suiciide. I would tell myself I have to be okay, I have to be with my kids one day and them to see me as strong and good, I think that hope always sustained me. Michael Clip 18 she would cry sometimes saying I'm stuck in Tijuana. And, um, I don't mean to make you mad and everything. And I said, I'm not mad. I said, I married you for better or worse. This, this happens to be the worst, you know, there's, there's a. There's daylight over the Hills, just be patient and, uh, and bite the bullet and, and it'll, you'll get through it. Michael knew how lonely Emma was... So nearly every weekend, he’d pack the boys into his car… Michael Clip 17 Oh Yeah, every weekend we would go down there. We'd go down. I can take them down on Friday, leave them at. If I had to work Saturday, I'd come back, work and then go down again and then bring them back many times to being late, waiting at the long border waits.So you noticed like at three o'clock in the morning and you'd all pass until nine or 10 in the morning, six and a half, seven hour waits and something I waited sometimes. WEDDING CLIP In 20-15...9 years after she was deported …. Emma wanted to use her family’s story to make a big, bold political statement. WEDDING CLIP She asked Michael if they could renew their vows… In a wedding ceremony at the actual border fence… At a place called Friendship Park where the wall runs into the Pacific Ocean.. So, on July 19, 20-15….Michael, in his freshly pressed dress blues…and Emma, in a white wedding dress, white gloves and a veil... Held an outdoor wedding as surprised Border Patrol agents stood by…. WEDDING CLIP 2 BEAT Photos of the wedding they posted online quickly went viral... Michael Clip 21 you know, how many people, you know, a Marine gets married out of the country in another country and his dress blues with a Mexican lady.she made the San Diego union Tribune front page, uh, during the Olympics. And the LA times she made front page on the LA times also, The couple became something of an icon for other couples stuck in similar situations… Michael Clip 22 You know, we're not giving up, my family is not giving up. And then I had a lot of people call me up and said, uh, good going you're uh, you're like a light at the end of the tunnel for a lot of people. BEAT FADE/TRANSITION ***** Ultimately... Joanna and Javier decided their love was worth fighting for...despite the emotional and physical tolls. So, they actually doubled down… And instead of breaking up… they got married. Deported Artist Wife Clip 18 What I love about him is that he's not giving up. You know, he could have easily given up and he didn't. BEAT Deported Artist Clip 40 What I love most about Joanna is her big heart. You know, she, she has the biggest heart I know in a person she inspires me too. To do a lot, Javier has been an artist since he was a kid... And Joanna has always been one of his biggest fans and supporters…. Deported Artist Clip 18 my wife, she knew that I liked to, I liked that I liked art. So she bought me my first set of paints and brushes. So I started painting at first just to deal with my anxiety and my depression a little bit. wasn’t until prison...and then his deportation that he really started thinking about art as more than just a hobby. So, after one of her trips down to Tijuana to see him, Joanna decided to take some of Javier’s artwork back with her to sell at pop-up events in Oakland... And people started buying it. BEAT Deported Artist Clip 19 once my artwork started selling,, I took it more serious, you know, I would, uh, paint every chance I get. and that's kinda, when I took the leap of faith, I said, you know what, uh, I'm just going to go for it. And I'm going to try to be an artist full-time. And I've been painting ever since, and I haven't regretted it BEAT Javier and Joanna's experience? It turns out…. There are a lot of other couples in the same boat... Deported Artist Wife Clip 13 When Javier would first start picking me up at the border. We would see. And he would tell me, I see so many,men out here and women waiting for their significant others to cross and be a family. we know we're not the only ones in this situation. So many families are navigating life after deportation. Lots of spouses actually end up moving to Mexico to keep their families together...there’s even a Facebook support group called “south of the border sisters” for wives of deported husbands who live in Mexico. So, the couple has stepped up to tell their story and advocate for families like theirs… Deported Artist Wife Clip 13 We do want to speak about it because a lot of people don't want to speak about it. BEAT Javier also uses his own artwork on his Instagram page to talk about deportees and to advocate for people like him… People he says deserve a second chance at life in the U.S… Deported Artist Clip 22 I want people to understand, right? Some people, they. They look at me and they were like, Oh, you know what? He's just the immigrant that came over here and committed a crime. Uh, I don't see it that way. You know, um, I grew up in Oakland all my life till I was, I didn't get into trouble until I was 24 for the first time ever. You know, to me, I was an American, you know, I was not an immigrant that came and did the crime. I was, I did a crime as an American. BEAT but then they took my papers away from me. BEAT FADE Javier doesn’t have a clear path back to the U.S. So...unless lawmakers make some changes….Or someone with a lot of power takes a special interest in his case… He’s essentially banned from the U.S. for good… BEAT But...he still holds hope that one day, he’ll be allowed back….and he can finally...for the first time in his life…Live under the same roof as his wife and kids. The November election made both Javier and Joana feel like they might actually be one step closer to being together. Joana Deported Artist Wife Clip 19 I cried when, when Biden won. Deported Artist Clip 35 So this whole time, you know, we've been crossing our fingers and hoping that, Biden would-win so that I have a better chance, Joana Deported Artist Wife Clip 19 I cried when, when Biden won. Deported Artist Clip 35 You know, right away. Under the Biden administration. They're already talking about doing a lot of stuff that they Trump did. So that's a, that's a good sign. BEAT/TRANSITION FADE ***** Three years after Michael and Emma’s wedding at the border… And 12 years after Emma was first deported... Emma’s path back into the U.S. came into view... She re-applied for citizenship status and was approved. It took two years longer than they had hoped... But the day finally came… Emmacomsbacktosandiego clip Fellow deported moms walked with Emma to the San Ysidro Port of Entry, carrying flags… Emmacomsbacktosandiego clip And Michael and the boys crossed into Tijuana so they could walk back through the border by Emma’s side. One of her sons who had joined the Army wore his military uniform.. Michael Clip 23 She was ready to go and then we crossed the border and uh,, there was some people interviewing somebody and they didn't show up. So they saw us and they overheard us talking or something and they asked if they could interview us. So they were taking pictures and, uh, felt like we were celebrities like, wow, Emma Clip 35 Ohhh it felt precious, and when I was deported there in Tijuana I would think, i would dream, I'm going to come in through the big door, the main door, I'm going to come to the US through the big door, and when I arrive all the americans will be happy that I'm there in their country, just crazy thoughts I would have to give myself love and raise my spirits. Emma is saying it felt amazing to walk through “the big door” as she called it - the port of a dream come true... Michael Clip 25 we were walking as a family across the border. We got mom back. So yeah, it was a great feeling. I was like, yes, 12 years. I did it. I did it. I did it. Give myself a Pat on the back. BEAT Emma and Michael have been living together in California ever since. Michael Clip 26 a lot of wasted time. A lot of, uh, Headache lack of sleep. So now I get the cuddle love with my wife at night. Uh, it's kind of a weird feeling like I'm just got married again. Laughs. BEAT Emma knows she broke the law. But she says a 10-year punishment is just way too steep a price to pay. The separation has had a lasting impact on their family. Emma Clip 37 There's a lot of pain with the situation, even though I saw them every weekend, it's not the same. Emma is saying she still feels the pain caused by all the time she lost with her kids. Emma Clip 38 One of my kids tells me he sees me as a friend not as a mom. I had such a wish to be able to go to my kids' school, to be able to pick them up and take them, those mundane things that moms do everyday and maybe don't value, just being able to take their kids to school *starts crying* to give them a kiss, which I couldn't do. BEAT Emma says one of her kids even told her… that because she was gone for so long… He can’t help but see her as more of a friend than a mom… Emma Clip 38 and my son tells me, "Mami I see you as a friend, I see you as another person" it's something that hurts, that pierces your soul. BEATS If you want to check out Javier’s art focused on the deportee experience...look him up on Instagram...his handle is “@ deported artist.” The art for this episode is actually one of his paintings. BEAT FADE Next episode teaser Next time on “Port of Entry…” Danya Gresham Clip 35 the love is that these kids, they don't have anybody that's going to stand up for them except us We wrap up our series of cross-border love stories with two women who dropped everything to care for some of the border region’s most vulnerable kids. It’s a story about how love can push a person to chart a completely new course. Show credits Port of Entry is written and produced by Kinsee Morlan. Emily Jankowski is the director of sound design. Alisa Barba edited this episode. This program is made possible (in part) by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, a private corporation funded by the American people." Do us a big, big favor, and, if you like this show, take out your phone..right now...and text someone and tell them about us. Word of mouth truly is the best way to get new people listening to this podcast. Thanks in advance for your help... I’m Alan Lilienthal, thanks for listening.

Our series on cross-border love stories continues. Today, two families separated by deportation share stories about how their love keeps them connected despite the border wall between them. Episode art by @Deportedartist: Follow “Port of Entry” online at, or on Facebook ( or Instagram ( Support our work at Search “Port of Entry” in the gifts section to get our sling bag as a thank-you gift. If your business or nonprofit wants to sponsor our show, email Text or call the "Port of Entry" team at 619-452-0228‬ anytime with questions or comments about the show