Vanessa and Freddy had been dating for just a few months when she first brought up the idea of marriage, while they were eating at their favorite taco place. "He just was silent, like he just looked at me, and then looked down at his food and kept eating," Vanessa told me. "I'm like, um are you gonna say something? And then he eventually said, I take marriage very seriously and I would never want to go down that path just because of legal status."
Freddy was born in Mexico, but has lived in the U.S. since he was six. He was undocumented until 2013, when he became one of the almost 700,000 young people who were given temporary permission to stay under President Obama's Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program. Then, last fall, President Trump declared that he was canceling DACA—throwing Freddy's future in the U.S. into question.
Vanessa and Freddy are married now, but there's still no clear path to permanent legal status for Freddy as the courts decide the fate of DACA program. The worry that Freddy might be deported hangs over their relationship—particularly for Vanessa. "What happens if they cancel DACA and then they go after all the DACA recipients and we have a baby?" Vanessa told me. But for Freddy, the prospect of losing his legal status in the U.S. doesn't faze him as much. "My thought is, I have done so much without it than with it, you know? So that's not going to change anything for me. It’s not going to stop me."