The Undocumented Americans

The Undocumented Americans

Book - 2020
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"Traveling across the country, journalist Karla Cornejo Villavicencio risked arrest at every turn to report the extraordinary stories of her fellow undocumented Americans. Her subjects have every reason to be wary around reporters, but Cornejo Villavicencio has unmatched access to their stories. Her work culminates in a stunning, essential read for our times. Born in Ecuador and brought to the United States when she was five years old, Cornejo Villavicencio has lived the American Dream. Raised on her father's deliveryman income, she later became one of the first undocumented students admitted into Harvard. She is now a doctoral candidate at Yale University and has written for The New York Times. She weaves her own story among those of the eleven million undocumented who have been thrust into the national conversation today as never before. Looking well beyond the flashpoints of the border or the activism of the DREAMERS, Cornejo Villavicencio explores the lives of the undocumented as rarely seen in our daily headlines. In New York, we meet the undocumented workers who were recruited in the federally funded Ground Zero cleanup after 9/11. In Miami we enter the hidden botanicas, which offer witchcraft and homeopathy to those whose status blocks them from any other healthcare options. In Flint, Michigan, we witness how many live in fear as the government issues raids at grocery stores and demands identification before offering life-saving clean water. In her book, Undocumented America, Cornejo Villavicencio powerfully reveals the hidden corners of our nation of immigrants. She brings to light remarkable stories of hope and resilience, and through them we come to understand what it truly means to be American"--
Publisher: New York : One World, [2020]
Edition: First edition
Copyright Date: ©2020
ISBN: 9780399592683
Branch Call Number: 364.13709 C8146C 2020
Characteristics: xvii, 185 pages ; 22 cm


From Library Staff

(NONFICTION) "Karla's heart is massive and you can see how incredibly exhausting that is to carry so much responsibility because others have failed you and your own. Her story and those that she has reached out to and helped force us to witness what is really going on. So much of our nation ... Read More »

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Dec 28, 2020

America benefits from the labor of undocumented Americans. And those individuals often live in fear.

According to the December 19, 2020 USA today article, “As the COVID-19 vaccine starts getting distributed immigration activists worry that undocumented residents will resist for fear of being deported.”

Karla Cornejo Villavicencio in her book, The Undocumented Americans (2019) writes a combination of memoir, biography and first person research - documenting current situations here in America that people live through as undocumented Americans. She writes that, “Most available jobs for undocumented immigrants are jobs Americans will not do, which takes healthy young migrants and makes them age terribly. At a certain point, manual labor is no longer possible. Aging undocumented people have no safety net. Even though half of the undocumented people pay into Social Security, none are eligible for benefits. They are unable to purchase health insurance. And they probably don’t own their own homes.” She goes on to say about these people, “This country takes her youth, their dreams, their labor, and spits them out with nothing to show for it.”

These undocumented individuals are dishwashers, delivery boys (even though they may be in their 50’s), farm workers, house keepers, and, and, and they are invisible. If they drive a car or truck, most do it without a license. Life is a tightrope walk.

Karla Cornejo Villavicencio writes with passion and raw truth. She tells her story, her family’s story and interviews many others and tells their stories. All are personal narratives. All are reported to provide the reader with sensitivity and honesty to the people, the situations and the instability of America’s current realities related to undocumented people.

This book is outstanding I recommend it to all. Yes, I think it would be a valuable read for those of us who teach, preach, farm, police, run restaurants, govern and and so many more of us.


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