A cut-rate lawyer failed in his attempt to win Alejandra political asylum, and she's been ordered deported, an order she's so far managed to avoid by moving every few months to stay ahead of the Justice Department. It's a game she's resigned to lose eventually. Surprisingly, she agrees in part with those activists who blame many of California's economic and social woes on illegal immigration.
"I think that's true," she says. "There are laws in this country and you have to respect them. Some people come just to destroy, to kill. If you watch the news, all you hear is 'this Hispanic who did this' or 'the Hispanic who killed this guy' or 'the Hispanic who did I don't know what.'
"But imagine: If we go back to our countries, what are we going to do? Nothing. There are people who are worthwhile, who come to struggle to make themselves and the country better. And they struggle to make themselves better."
For Alejandra, however, the struggle has become too much. She plans to follow Cipriano back to his village in central Mexico, maybe this year, maybe next. When they find work there, the pay will undoubtedly be less, but then so will the cost of living. And the schools, she's certain, will be better on the other side of the border.
"The future. That's all I think about," she says. "You know, what am I going to do? It's going to be better for the baby in Mexico. She'll be able to study. And we'll live legally there because I'll be married to a Mexican."
Tomorrow morning, however, Alejandra will get up before the sun does and prepare to cross a border of another kind. And along the way, she'll watch the pawnshops give way to strip malls and the airy parks yield to leafy estates.