A couple from Georgia spent their 1 year wedding anniversary stranded in Mexico over a visa issue.
Angelica Carranza and Ramon Gonzalez were married on May 16, 2011.
The couple went to Mexico on April 26 of this year to apply for a visa. Gonzalez, 23, said he wanted his wife to one day be a legal citizen.
"You are at one point ashamed of being there illegally," Carranza said.
Carranza was brought to the United States when she was just 5 years old. Since that time, she has lived in Dalton attending high school, getting a degree from a technical college and working for her family's company.
Carranza was born in Mexico City, but moved to the U.S. and has since been living life without papers.
"I really don't like to drive, because I don't have a driver's license because I am illegal," Carranza said.
The couple decided instead of looking over their shoulder for their entire lives, they would start the process to get Carranza a visa and live a normal life in the U.S.
"I am a Georgia southern girl, I am about as American as they get," Carranza said. "I grew up there (Dalton) I had no control of my actions. I don't regret my parents' decisions. I live a good life and thankfully I got to live, and grow up in a country where there are so many opportunities for everybody. But, we feel like, we are being punished for trying to go about it the right way."
After an interview at the U.S. Consulate General's Office in Ciudad Juarez, Carranza's husband said they realized it was going to be a longer process than they anticipated.
"When she first had her interview, she was denied her visa," Gonzalez said. "So that was an automatic 10-year bar. She couldn't go back for another interview for another 10 years. Our lawyers have appealed it twice already and now we are just waiting on them to hear what's next."
For the past month, the pair bounced around from city to city, staying with family and friends in different parts of the country. Neither have jobs, but wonder, if the process takes longer, will they have to re-start their lives in Mexico?
"We will get jobs and figure out what's next. We are in it together, until the end," Carranza said.
"I try not to think about having to stay here, although I was born here, and I love where I come from," Carranza said. "I love my heritage, but Dalton is my home, that is where I grew up. That is the only home I know. It scares me and terrifies me to have to live here, but I am thankful for him. He has been by my side the entire time. He is my shoulder to lean on, he keeps me sane."
Carranza is trying to get another interview for a visa. When that happens, she will have to return to Ciudad Juarez. Gonzalez is an American citizen. Their lawyers said that gives her a better chance of winning their appeal.
No matter what happens, Gonzalez stressed he will not leave his wife in Mexico, so he is stranded with her.
"I can't leave her here," Gonzalez said.
"We are going to keep trying. We are not giving up, we just want to go back to our families and our home. What we know of as our home, and we'll face this together," Carranza said.
Copyright 2012 WGCL-TV (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.
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