A Woman Without a Country: Adopted at Birth and Deportable at 30

Three days later, they were homebound with their daughter. At the border, a U.S. agent peered into their vehicle, where Rebecca was bundled up in her new mother’s arms; he waved them through. The next month, a birth certificate arrived from Mexico that listed them as Rebecca Lynn Wilson’s parents, which they thought — incorrectly — was all they needed to render the adoption legal.

Becky, as they called her, was a bubbly child with almond-shaped brown eyes and silky dark hair. “She was such a joy, so smart and so loving,” Ms. Edmonds, now 62, recalled.

Eventually, Becky learned that she was adopted. “I didn’t think I was any less American.”

After her parents separated, Ms. Trimble and her mother moved to Vancouver, Wash. At Hudson’s Bay High School, Becky excelled in her classes, took up bowling and managed the track team.

One of her teachers encouraged the class to register to vote ahead of the 2008 presidential election, and that November, Ms. Trimble voted for the only time in her life.

She fell in love with a fellow student, John Trimble, a distance runner who took her to the prom. After high school, the couple decided to get married and thought about a road trip to Canada for their honeymoon.

In the spring of 2012, Ms. Trimble applied for an enhanced ID, an alternative to a passport that Americans can use to enter the United States from Canada or Mexico.

A clerk studied her Mexican birth certificate, handed it back to her and said that Ms. Trimble had to show further proof of American citizenship, such as a naturalization certificate. She was stumped.

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