Maria (Nieto) Robledo And The US-Mexico Laredo Foot Bridge

On October 27, 1915 — one day shy of her 23rd birthday — my great-grandmother, Maria (Nieto) Robledo (1887-1974), immigrated to the United States from Mexico via the foot bridge connecting Laredo, Texas and Nuevo Laredo, Mexico. Despite being married and having two children, Maria only crossed into the U.S. with one child — her infant son Refugio Robledo.

I discovered this fact sometime between 2003 and 2005, during one of many in-person research trip to the Pacific Region of the National Archives, when I found Maria’s naturalization certificate (I got to hold the actual original signed certificate in my white-gloved hands!). My family knew that she had immigrated from San Luis Potosi, Mexico, but we didn’t know her point of entry.

I still have not uncovered when Maria’s husband (my great-grandfather Jose “Joe” Robledo), or their oldest daughter Guadalupe (“Lupe”, my godmother) crossed into the U.S. I also don’t know why the family did not cross together.

Laredo Foot Bridge
This photo is undated, but looks like it could have been the bridge that stood between 1905 and 1932. [International Foot Bridge, Laredo, Texas], Postcard, n.d.; digital images, ( : accessed June 20, 2012), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History,; crediting Laredo Public Library, Laredo, Texas.
According to Wikipedia, the foot bridge (now called the Gateways to the Americas International Bridge) was first constructed in the 1880s, was destroyed by a flood in 1905, then repaired, and was rebuilt in 1932, continuing this cycle through present day.

Since finding her original naturalization certificate, I have been able to obtain the actual border crossing record on Ancestry. According to that record, Maria Nieto (I don’t know why she isn’t recorded under her married name of Robledo) entered into the U.S. on October 27, 1915 at the Laredo bridge, accompanied by her baby Refugio Robledo (no one else). She was 23 years old, married, Mexican, from San Luis Potosi, and had no occupation. Maria was able to read and write. She claimed never to have been in the U.S. before. I think the entry record states that she was visiting the U.S. for “shopping”, and she had $5.05 in her possession (I assume that’s U.S. dollars rather than Mexican pesos).

Maria Nieto Border Crossing 1915
Border crossing record, courtesy of National Archives and Records Administration (NARA), Washington, D.C.; Nonstatistical Manifests and Statistical Index Cards of Aliens Arriving at Laredo, Texas, May 1903 – November 1929; Record Group: 85, Records of the Immigration and Naturalization Service; Microfilm Serial: A3379; Microfilm Roll: 70.

I hope to one day visit the Laredo foot bridge. Although it’s not the same bridge (except in name) that carried my ancestors to their new life, I’d still like to walk across it and try to imagine what they felt. Were they scared? Were they worried? Were they relieved? Were they hopeful?

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0 thoughts on “Maria (Nieto) Robledo And The US-Mexico Laredo Foot Bridge”

  1. Roberto Ernesto Robledo

    Hello Colleen,
    I appreciate all of the work you have done in researching your family since I am currently doing the same. My name is Roberto Ernesto Robledo Urrutia, but on my father’s side, his name was Arnulfo Robledo Carbajal. His parents were Miguel Robledo Mendez and Maria de la Luz Carbajal Nieto.
    The names in your research that stand out for me are Nieto, Carbajal and Robledo all of which are in my family tree. My father’s birth certificate shows that he was from Armadillo de los Infante, but he also lived in Temascal, SLP, Mexico. He also crossed over into the U.S. in Nuevo Laredo in 1918. He had an older sister named Maria Robledo Carbajal who married Ramon Nieto, and their children were Jose, Ramon, Francisco, Concepcion, Fidel, Guadalupe, Manuel, Jesus (female) and Refugio (female) that married Juvenal Nieto.
    Thanks again for all the family research you did.

    Roberto Ernesto Robledo Urrutia, May 28, 2017

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