“It’s unfair,” Josefa says. “You go your whole life, you’re working with the system and pay taxes. You try to be the best citizen you can be, but to have a stupid clause fuck it over, it’s unfair.”

She admits she’s afraid of getting caught. “But we’re putting our faith on the fact it will work out—it has to,” she says.

“If I don’t do this now, I don’t know how long I can do this,” Jose says. “I can’t live a double life anymore.”

Doug Boehm
Doug Boehm

The banda sinaloense returns from its break. “I like this song—let’s dance,” Josefa tells Jose. Her fake-gold engagement ring sparkles as they enter the hall and rush toward the stage. They hold each other, coordinate their steps and join the dance-floor swirl.

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This article appeared in print as "Make a Run for the Altar: With immigration reform stalled, some young, assimilated illegal immigrants are entering sham marriages with a little help from their friends."

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