A dream still on hold … ‘because we’re not free’

Maria worked in Mexico, earning enough to afford a housekeeper to tidy up after her family.

But 15 years ago, Maria, her husband and two young daughters crossed the border illegally into California. Her husband needed more work, and they wanted better lives for the girls. They moved to Kansas City 12 years ago.

Now, Maria works as a maid. Her husband works in construction. She earns between $50 and $70 — cash — each day she cleans someone’s home. Here she cleans her own.

Now she worries about her daughters’ futures (one is in high school, the other is a young adult) because the family still doesn’t have legal authorization to work in the U.S.

“I love this country,” Maria’s husband said. They own several cars as well as their home.

When asked whether they’ve achieved the dream they came to America for, he said, “Kinda. Because we can’t enjoy it. Because we feel like in jail.”

Maria nodded sadly: “Because we’re not free.”