Couple marries at El Paso port of entry to protest immigration rules

Couple marries at El Paso port of entry to protest immigration rules

By Diana Washington Valdez / El Paso Times

elpaso-bridge-marriageEdgar Falcon and Maricruz Valtierra got married Tuesday on the Paso del Norte International Bridge — under unusual legal circumstances.

For most of the ceremony, he stood on the U.S. side while she was on the Mexican side.

They weren’t trying to set a world record or launch a potentially viral online video.

They got married on the international boundary because they had to.

U.S. immigration rules and regulations ban Valtierra, 25, a citizen of Mexico, from crossing the border, and that is the only way he can be with his bride, he said.

“We are getting married here to show that immigration laws affect not only undocumented immigrants in the United States, but also U.S. citizens like myself who want to be united with our loved ones,” Falcon, 27, said. “To be with my wife, I have to become an exile from my own country.”

Valtierra was penalized by U.S. immigration officials after an older sister declared at the border seven years ago that Valtierra and another relative were Americans.

“It was my sister that did that, but I am paying for it,” Valtierra said.

Anyone who makes a false declaration of immigration status at the border is prohibited under a law passed in the 1990s from re-entering the United States.

U.S.

Rep. Beto O’Rourke, D-El Paso, who attended the wedding at the top of the bridge, said he plans to introduce legislation next month that is intended to help unite families like the Falcons who are separated by arbitrary laws and regulations.

The proposed American Families United Act will, among other things, give discretionary authority to judges and Department of Homeland Security officials in removal, deportation, ineligibility or inadmissibility proceedings when someone is an immediate family member of a U.S. citizen.

“It is a fundamental principle of American values that the U.S. government has no right to tell any citizen to choose between their spouse — the love of their life — and their country,” O’Rourke said. “Yet that is what current law does.”

He said immigration judges shoul…Read full story here: http://www.elpasotimes.com/newupdated/ci_23954060/couple-marries-at-el-paso-port-entry-protest

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