When Immigration Status Puts Couple's Life 'At Pause' On their first date, Irakere Picon told Arianna Hermosillo that he was undocumented. He works as an immigration lawyer, and the couple, now married, face anxieties related to his status.
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When Immigration Status Puts Couple's Life 'At Pause'

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When Immigration Status Puts Couple's Life 'At Pause'

When Immigration Status Puts Couple's Life 'At Pause'

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(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

That music means it is time for StoryCorps this morning. Irakere Picon was 2 years old when his parents brought him to the United States from Mexico on a tourist visa. They never left. Picon was allowed to stay in the U.S. thanks to the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program or DACA. And he went to law school in 2012. It was around then that he met Arianna Hermosillo on a bus. He later asked her on a date, and that's when Picon told her that he was undocumented.

IRAKERE PICON: Did it make you feel apprehensive about dating me?

ARIANNA HERMOSILLO: No, it didn't make me apprehensive. It was almost like, it's OK. It's cool but not even fully grasping what that meant. I was a U.S.-born citizen, and I think I didn't realize that I would start living some of that indirectly through spending time with you.

PICON: So I had started working as an immigration attorney. It's weird to be undocumented. It's weird to be in those offices with somebody else who also is in the same situation. You've mentioned to me that sometimes you're scared or you're sort of nervous when I go to immigration court or when I go to ICE.

HERMOSILLO: Because I imagine you going in there and talking smack and just kind of standing up for your clients. And I just imagine you saying the wrong thing.

PICON: (Laughter).

HERMOSILLO: Tell me the truth. Have you ever been afraid?

PICON: I'm always afraid.

(LAUGHTER)

PICON: When I went to my first ICE check-in with a client - it's on the fourth floor. And it's just completely packed to the brim, and you cannot walk around. It's very hot. It's almost suffocating. Sometimes I'm curious if they know about my status.

HERMOSILLO: Yeah. And we've kind of built an unspoken system for you telling me in the morning that you will be at an ICE check-in. And then I say please be careful. And then you text me when you're out and safe, and I say thank God. But it does weigh me down a little bit. It is a very specific cloud hanging over us. It just feels like we're at - paused. Travel plans are paused. Long-term plans are paused. You know, we want to buy a house. We really can't take too many steps in any direction until we have this resolved, so it is hard. What did our wedding day feel like for you?

PICON: I think I felt at peace.

HERMOSILLO: Yeah. Like, it's the start of something new for us. We've been together for over five years now.

PICON: You've been very supportive and very caring in so many ways.

HERMOSILLO: I wonder how you'll feel when you no longer have that title of undocumented person, but I'll be there with you. So I'm ready.

PICON: All right. Let's do it.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

GREENE: That was Irakere Picon and Arianna Hermosillo. Although they were married earlier this year, it's unclear whether Picon will receive a green card and become a permanent resident. That interview is going to be archived along with hundreds of thousands of others at the Library of Congress.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

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