My Wife’s 30-Year Road to Citizenship

When coming to the U.S. legally as a child is not enough

Pablo Andreu
7 min readJun 18, 2024
Source: Licensed via Adobe Stock Photo

Today, President Biden announced a pathway to citizenship for the undocumented spouses and children of U.S. citizens. The announcement was made at a White House event marking the 12th anniversary of DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals), a policy my wife once benefited from.

The move called to mind my own experience with mixed-status families. Though I was born in the States, my parents and my sister were undocumented through my childhood, the pall of deportation always looming.

The path to citizenship, even for those who come to the U.S. legally, like my wife, is meandering and fraught with bureaucratic oddities, resulting in an inefficient, Kafkaesque immigration system that chews lives up without a second thought.

Fourteen years ago, I wrote an article for the Huffington Post, titled “Dream Come True,” which advocated for a DREAM Act that is yet to pass. The DREAM Act (the Development, Relief, and Education for Alien Minors) is proposed legislation that would bestow permanent protections on immigrants who came to the U.S. as children. DACA would later become a temporary measure for those childhood arrivals.