When Ileyana Lopez immigrated from a small village in Mexico to the United States as a young woman, she didn’t speak a word of English.
“At 16, I saw an opportunity to come to the states,” she said, remembering her hometown of La Cofradia, which has fewer than 100 people. “I wanted a better quality of life, so (after a while) I left.”
She lived with her husband, whom she married young, for a year in California. Then in 2001, they moved to Juneau, where her husband could be closer to his daughter from a previous marriage.