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Anita: A Better Life

Explore themes from Anita's point of view as a wife, mother, and undocumented immigrant separated from her family after being deported from her home in Tucson, AZ to Nogales, Mexico.

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Mixed-status families are some of the less
discussed topics when politicians debate
immigration policy.

A Mixed-Status Family

Did you know that, in the USA, more than 16.7 million people share a home with at least one family member, often a parent, who is undocumented?

Anita fled a dangerous situation in search of a better life. After arriving in the U.S., Anita fell in love with and married an American (Billy), and they started a family. 

Obtaining a green card after marrying a citizen is no simple feat. In addition to the process coming with quite a price tag, most undocumented immigrants do not qualify to stay in the States while their application is under review. 


Mixed-status families like Anita's battle daily anxieties and navigate changing landscapes of immigration policies that affect their lives. 

Deportees are also vulnerable to drug cartels on the border. "They are absolute targets [and are] subject to robbery, to kidnappings, to extortion…" 

Dropped in Nogales

For those deported to Nogales, like Anita, there are limited options for how to build a life. There are shelters for deportees with food and beds for a short stay. There's a number of squatter and homeless communities - but they're often in shambles (many don't even have doors). 


Because it's close to a lot of major U.S. ports, I.C.E. officers often deport people directly to Nogales regardless of whether they are from there or not. 

A Life Like Anita's

Just like Anita, Letty Stegall is a Mexican undocumented immigrant who was deported and had to leave her family behind. Not only does she feel deeply hurt, but so does her family.


Stegall married an American and has citizen children, but she is now back in Boca Del Rio, Mexico as of March 2018. She manages the bar her family owns through security cameras and communicates to her family through facetime and social media. 

Technology keeps them connected, but the separation still takes a heavy toll on their family.

Consider This:
See, Think, Wonder

The picture on the right is from Facing History and Ourselves. It features Mireya Leal sharing a picnic lunch through the US-Mexico border fence with her husband Raymundo Orozco.

  • What do you see? 

  • What do you think about what you see? 

  • What do you wonder about? 


Here you can learn more about using See/Think/Wonder to deeper examine works of art.

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