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Claudia González, 36, worships at her church in Tamaulipas, México on Sept. 17, 2023. After living in Texas for two decades and receiving a work permit through DACA, she applied for her green card, hoping to become a legal permanent U.S. resident.

A Houston woman applied for a green card. She was banned from the U.S. for a decade.

Claudia González was 15 when she crossed the border into Texas to reunite with her mother. Now she’s back in Mexico, separated from her 15-year-old son and her husband in Houston.

Top:  Claudia González left her 15-year-old son with his father in Houston while she lives in Mexico and tries to find a legal way to return to her family. Bottom left: González plays lotería with family after church in Tamaulipas. Bottom right: Bottle caps on lotería cards.

Life in Tamaulipas

Claudia González visits a store near her home in Tamaulipas, roughly 50 miles south of the Texas-Mexico border.
Claudia González visits with her neighbors in her Tamaulipas village. Her older brother was kidnapped from a nearby ranch in 2020 and is presumed dead. González and her neighbors say it’s common to hear gunfire at night.

Crossing the border

Pastor Estela Prieto Covarrubias leads the worship at her church in Tamaulipas on Sept. 17, 2023.
Claudia González sings at the church.

Building a life in Houston

Interview in Ciudad Juárez

Top: Claudia González speaks with church members after Sunday service. Bottom left: González and her mother, Guadalupe González, prepare breakfast at their home. Bottom right: González holds her chick, Mushito.
Top left: Claudia González shares her story on a live stream with members of the Dreamers 2gether group. Top right: Guadalupe González holds a photo of her son, who hasn’t been heard from since he was kidnapped in 2020. Bottom: From left: Claudia González, her mother Guadalupe González, and her sister Ma Guadalupe González at their home in Tamaulipas.

Longing for his mother

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Immigration Dream Act