Rosaura Lima, 40, played with her children in the parking lot of a budget hotel in Morristown, Tennessee, the boyhood home of Davy Crockett.
She lives in Bowling Green, Kentucky, with her husband, Roman Martinez, 43, who traveled 250 miles to Morristown for a construction job.
She was trying to keep the kids busy, as her husband was sick in a local hospital. He woke up with a giant welt on his arm that doctors told her may have come from a bug bite.
But he couldn’t drive back home until the infection went down.
“The doctor said it was serious,” she said.
Complicating matters, the couple does not have health insurance and they are undocumented.
Rosaura is from Guatemala and her husband is from Mexico. Even though she has lived in the U.S. more than 10 years and her husband more than 20 years, there is no way for them to gain legal status without immigration reform. They don’t have a family member or an employer who can sponsor them.
They are among the growing Latino population in southern states. In Bowling Green, the Hispanic population grew by 89 percent from 2000 to 2010 to 3,749 or 6.5 percent of the population. Latinos comprise around 3 percent of the statewide population in Kentucky.
Rosaura’s family tried to gain legal status, and paid $8,000 to a lawyer last year.
“He cheated us,” Lima said.
So they work under the table. She works at a fast food restaurant and her husband in construction.
Rosaura has hopes for their children, all born in the U.S.
“They are U.S. citizens so they will do better than us,” she said.