Maria Ochoa crossed the border illegally, worked in a clothing factory and dodged immigration agents until she was granted U.S. citizenship in 1996. Lilia Neira also crossed the border without documentation and worked in restaurants and fields until gaining citizenship through her husband in 1991. Both women came to the United States in search of a better life than their native Mexico afforded. And both found it.
Yet now the two women fear that some of the immigration reform bills being debated in Congress could disrupt the social framework of families living here illegally, while other measures might keep low-paid illegal workers from ever attaining the American dream.