US Bride, Mexican Groom Wed on Border Raft

Treaty from 1848 makes strange ceremony possible

By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff

Posted Apr 11, 2013 3:39 PM CDT

(Newser) – An American woman married her longtime Mexican beau on a raft in the middle of the Rio Grande river yesterday, in a strange ceremony designed to exploit an obscure treaty loophole. Ruben Alfonso Fierro and Stephanie Guerra have been living together in America for years, and have four American children together. There's just one problem: Fierro was an illegal immigrant, and when he took what was supposed to be a temporary trip to Mexico, he wasn't allowed to return, the AFP reports.

A wedding in the US would make it a lot easier for the 27-year-old to legally immigrate, so the couple got creative, taking advantage of an 1848 treaty allowing free navigation of the Rio Grande. US law enforcement lined the river to make sure no member of the wedding party stepped foot on US soil, as the two tied the knot on a Zodiac raft launched from Mexico, along with family and friends. A Texas judge performed the ceremony on the raft, which was technically in US territory. It is the first known wedding on the river.

This 2011 file photo shows the Rio Grande flowing near Albuquerque, NM.   (AP Photo/Susan Montoya Bryan)
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