Following the News: YA about Undocumented Immigrants

Following the News: YA about Undocumented Immigrants www.onemorestamp.com

They say that books help develop empathy. We can see ourselves in them. We can see the lives of others in them. And sometimes when we learn to truely see others we can open the barres between “them” and “us” and join them. Here are ten books by or about undocumented teens. Let’s have the courage to let their stories and the real stories that are going on all around us change us for the better.

Books are sometimes windows, offering views of worlds that may be real or imagined, familiar or strange. These windows are also sliding glass doors, and readers have only to walk through in imagination to become part of whatever world has been created or recreated by the author.
— Rudine Sims Bishop, 1990

Need some help?

Sign a ACLU petition to STOP THE GOVERNMENT FROM ABUSING IMMIGRANT CHILDREN.
Sign an ACLU petition to Stop Families being Seperated
Follow @Celeste_Pewter on Twitter
Check out her thread here for a script to call your representatives. Celeste is amazing and writes one for almost issue that comes up. You can also sign up for her daily action email here.


Something in Between by Melissa de la Cruz 

Something in Between
by Melissa de la Cruz 

Goodreads | Amazon | Audible
Series: Stand Alone
Published: October 4th 2016
Rating: important topic but fluffier than I wanted
Times Read: 1
Recommended By: I was searching for books on this topic

From Goodreads:

Even though you can’t control the things that happen to you, you can control your perspective and your actions. There’s never a moment you can’t choose who you want to be.

It feels like there’s no ground beneath me, like everything I’ve ever done has been a lie. Like I’m breaking apart, shattering. Who am I? Where do I belong?

Jasmine de los Santos has always done what’s expected of her. Pretty and popular, she’s studied hard, made her Filipino immigrant parents proud and is ready to reap the rewards in the form of a full college scholarship.

And then everything shatters. A national scholar award invitation compels her parents to reveal the truth: their visas expired years ago. Her entire family is illegal. That means no scholarships, maybe no college at all and the very real threat of deportation.

For the first time, Jasmine rebels, trying all those teen things she never had time for in the past. Even as she’s trying to make sense of her new world, it’s turned upside down by Royce Blakely, the charming son of a high-ranking congressman. Jasmine no longer has any idea where—or if—she fits into the American Dream. All she knows is that she’s not giving up. Because when the rules you lived by no longer apply, the only thing to do is make up your own. 


Americanized: Rebel Without a Green Card by Sara Saedi 

Americanized: Rebel Without a Green Card
by Sara Saedi 

Goodreads | Amazon | Audible
Series: Stand Alone
Published: February 6th 2018
Rating: not as good as I wanted it to be
Times read: 1
Recommended by: The Hey YA podcast

From Goodreads:

At thirteen, bright-eyed, straight-A student Sara Saedi uncovered a terrible family secret: she was breaking the law simply by living in the United States. Only two years old when her parents fled Iran, she didn’t learn of her undocumented status until her older sister wanted to apply for an after-school job, but couldn’t because she didn’t have a Social Security number.

Fear of deportation kept Sara up at night, but it didn’t keep her from being a teenager. She desperately wanted a green card, along with clear skin, her own car, and a boyfriend.

Americanized follows Sara’s progress toward getting her green card, but that’s only a portion of her experiences as an Iranian-“American” teenager. From discovering that her parents secretly divorced to facilitate her mother’s green card application to learning how to tame her unibrow, Sara pivots from the terrifying prospect that she might be kicked out of the country at any time to the almost-as-terrifying possibility that she might be the only one of her friends without a date to the prom. 

My focus on school was a side effect of battling stage-four ICGC, also known as immigrant child guilt complex. This is a chronic disorder that affects only children of immigrants, who experience a constant gnawing guilt for the multitude of sacrifices their parents made to bring them to the United States. There is no cure for ICGC, but treatments include making your mom and dad proud.

American Street by Ibi Zoboi

American Street
by Ibi Zoboi 

Goodreads | Amazon | Audible
Series: Stand Alone
Published: February 14th 2017 
Rating: powerful
Times read: 1
Recommended by: Twitter

So trying to come to America from the wrong country is a crime?

From Goodreads:

The rock in the water does not know the pain of the rock in the sun.

On the corner of American Street and Joy Road, Fabiola Toussaint thought she would finally find une belle vie—a good life.

But after they leave Port-au-Prince, Haiti, Fabiola’s mother is detained by U.S. immigration, leaving Fabiola to navigate her loud American cousins, Chantal, Donna, and Princess; the grittiness of Detroit’s west side; a new school; and a surprising romance, all on her own.

Just as she finds her footing in this strange new world, a dangerous proposition presents itself, and Fabiola soon realizes that freedom comes at a cost. Trapped at the crossroads of an impossible choice, will she pay the price for the American dream? 


First Crossing: Stories About Teen Immigrants by Donald R. Gallo

First Crossing: Stories About Teen Immigrants
by Donald R. Gallo

Goodreads | Amazon
Series: Stand Alone
Published: September 9th 2004
Rating: a good
Times read: 1
Recommended by: Goodreads

From Goodreads:

Fleeing from political violence in Venezuela, Amina and her family have settled in the United States. Sarah, adopted, is desperate to know her Korean birth parents. Adrian’s friends have some spooky — and hilarious — misconceptions about his Romanian origins. Whether their transition is from Mexico to the United States or from Palestine to New Mexico, the characters in this anthology have all ventured far and have faced countless challenges. Each of these stories is unique, and each one has something to say to all of us.

A series of words, a sequence of movements — a story, a dance, these things Grandma passed on to me, these things that are almost sacred in their simplicity. And they are mine, yet they belong to me only as much as the flame of a candle belongs to its wick. When the candle is melted away, the flame is passed on — that’s all.

The Book of Unknown Americans by Cristina Henriquez

The Book of Unknown Americans
by Cristina Henriquez 

Goodreads | Amazon | Audible
Series: Stand Alone
Published: June 3rd 2014
Rating: beautiful writing
Times read: 1
Recommended by: Goodreads

I felt the way I often felt in this country - simultaneously conspicuous and invisible, like an oddity whom everyone noticed but chose to ignore.

From Goodreads:

A dazzling, heartbreaking page-turner destined for breakout status: a novel that gives voice to millions of Americans as it tells the story of the love between a Panamanian boy and a Mexican girl: teenagers living in an apartment block of immigrant families like their own.

After their daughter Maribel suffers a near-fatal accident, the Riveras leave México and come to America. But upon settling at Redwood Apartments, a two-story cinderblock complex just off a highway in Delaware, they discover that Maribel's recovery--the piece of the American Dream on which they've pinned all their hopes--will not be easy. Every task seems to confront them with language, racial, and cultural obstacles.

At Redwood also lives Mayor Toro, a high school sophomore whose family arrived from Panamá fifteen years ago. Mayor sees in Maribel something others do not: that beyond her lovely face, and beneath the damage she's sustained, is a gentle, funny, and wise spirit. But as the two grow closer, violence casts a shadow over all their futures in America.

Peopled with deeply sympathetic characters, this poignant yet unsentimental tale of young love tells a riveting story of unflinching honesty and humanity that offers a resonant new definition of what it means to be an American. An instant classic is born.


Ask Me No Questions by Marina Budhos

Ask Me No Questions
by Marina Budhos 

Goodreads | Amazon | Audible
Series: Stand Alone
Published: February 1st 2006
Rating: dark and painful
Times read: 1
Recommended by: Goodreads

From Goodreads:

The most important thing, Abba said, was not to stick out. Don’t let them see you. But I think it hurt him, to hide so much.

Nadira and her family are illegal aliens, fleeing to the Canadian border -- running from the country they thought was their home. For years since emigrating from Bangladesh, they have lived on expired visas in New York City, hoping they could someday realize their dream of becoming legal citizens of the United States. But after 9/11, everything changes. Suddenly, being Muslim means being dangerous, a suspected terrorist. And when Nadira's father is arrested and detained at the border, Nadira and her older sister, Aisha, are sent back to Queens and told to carry on, as if everything is the same. 

But of course nothing is the same. Nadira and Aisha live in fear they'll have to return to a Bangladesh they hardly know. Aisha, always the responsible one, falls apart. It's up to Nadira to find a way to bring her family back together again. 

Critically acclaimed author Marina Budhos has given us a searing portrait of contemporary America in the days of terrorism, orange alerts, and the Patriot Act, and a moving and important story about something most people take for granted -- citizenship and acceptance in their country. 


Return to Sender by Julia Alvarez

Return to Sender
by Julia Alvarez 

Goodreads | Amazon | Audible
Series: Stand Alone
Published: January 13th 2009 
Rating: TBR
Times read: 1
Recommended by: Goodreads

From Goodreads:

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Vestibulum id ligula porta felis euismod semper.
— Pablo

After Tyler's father is injured in a tractor accident, his family is forced to hire migrant Mexican workers to help save their Vermont farm from foreclosure. Tyler isn’t sure what to make of these workers. Are they undocumented? And what about the three daughters, particularly Mari, the oldest, who is proud of her Mexican heritage but also increasingly connected her American life. Her family lives in constant fear of being discovered by the authorities and sent back to the poverty they left behind in Mexico. Can Tyler and Mari find a way to be friends despite their differences?

In a novel full of hope, but no easy answers, Julia Alvarez weaves a beautiful and timely story that will stay with readers long after they finish it


My (Underground) American Dream: My True Story as an Undocumented Immigrant Who Became a Wall Street Executive by Julissa Arce

My (Underground) American Dream: My True Story as an Undocumented Immigrant Who Became a Wall Street Executive
by Julissa Arce

Goodreads | Amazon | Audible
Series: Stand Alone
Published: September 13th 2016 
Rating: TBR
Times read: 1
Recommended by: Goodreads

From Goodreads:

Since the age of fourteen, I had learned to live an alternate reality, an imagined reality in which my immigration status didn’t matter. Denial had become the only way I could move through life.

For an undocumented immigrant, what is the true cost of the American Dream? Julissa Arce shares her story in a riveting memoir.

When she was 11 years old Julissa Arce left Mexico and came to the United States on a tourist visa to be reunited with her parents, who dreamed the journey would secure her a better life. When her visa expired at the age of 15, she became an undocumented immigrant. Thus began her underground existence, a decades long game of cat and mouse, tremendous family sacrifice, and fear of exposure. After the Texas Dream Act made a college degree possible, Julissa's top grades and leadership positions landed her an internship at Goldman Sachs, which led to a full time position--one of the most coveted jobs on Wall Street. Soon she was a Vice President, a rare Hispanic woman in a sea of suits and ties, yet still guarding her "underground" secret. In telling her personal story of separation, grief, and ultimate redemption, Arce shifts the immigrant conversation, and changes the perception of what it means to be an undocumented immigrant.


Dream Things True by Marie Marquardt

Dream Things True
by Marie Marquardt

Goodreads | Amazon | Audible
Series: Stand Alone
Published: September 1st 2015
Rating:
Times read: 1
Recommended by: Goodreads

From Goodreads:

This girl had no shortage of sarcasm, but he could keep up.

A modern-day Romeo and Juliet story in which a wealthy Southern boy falls in love with an undocumented Mexican girl and together they face perils in their hostile Georgia town.

Evan, a soccer star and the nephew of a conservative Southern Senator, has never wanted for much -- except a functional family. Alma has lived in Georgia since she was two-years-old, excels in school, and has a large, warm Mexican family. Never mind their differences, the two fall in love, and they fall hard. But when ICE (Immigration and Customs Enforcement) begins raids on their town, Alma knows that she needs to tell Evan her secret. There's too much at stake. But how to tell her country-club boyfriend that she’s an undocumented immigrant? That her whole family and most of her friends live in the country without permission. What follows is a beautiful, nuanced, well-paced exploration of the complications of immigration, young love, defying one’s family, and facing a tangled bureaucracy that threatens to completely upend two young lives. 


The Secret Side of Empty by Maria E. Andreu

The Secret Side of Empty
by Maria E. Andreu 

Goodreads | Amazon | Audible
Series: Stand Alone
Published: March 11th 2014 
Rating: satisfying
Times read: 1
Recommended by: Goodreads

You’d figure you would have checked to see if the two names matched together before naming me that. Or if anyone at all could ever pronounce it in America.

From Goodreads:

As a straight-A student with a budding romance and loyal best friend, M.T.’s life seems as apple-pie American as her blondish hair and pale skin. But M.T. hides two facts to the contrary: her full name of Monserrat Thalia and her status as an undocumented immigrant. 

But it’s harder to hide now that M.T.’s a senior. Her school’s National Honor Society wants her to plan their trip abroad, her best friend won’t stop bugging her to get her driver’s license, and all everyone talks about is where they want to go to college. M.T. is pretty sure she can’t go to college, and with high school ending and her family life unraveling, she’s staring down a future that just seems empty. In the end, M.T. will need to trust herself and others to stake a claim in the life that she wants.

Author Maria E. Andreu draws from her personal experience as a (formerly) undocumented immigrant to explore an issue that affects over one million children in the U.S. But while the subject matter is timely, it is M.T.’s sharp, darkly funny voice and longing for a future that makes this story universally poignant. 

Anyway, I am mad. Read some books and call your representatives. That is what I am going to do.

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Following the News: YA by and About Refugees

Following the News: YA by and About Refugees www.onemorestamp.com

Do you have rage this week? I definitely do. Let’s call and vote and try to change things together.

Need some help making contact?

Sign a ACLU petition to STOP THE GOVERNMENT FROM ABUSING IMMIGRANT CHILDREN.
Sign an ACLU petition to Stop Families being Separated
Follow @Celeste_Pewter on Twitter
Check out her thread here for a script to call your representatives. Celeste is amazing and writes one for almost issue that comes up. You can also sign up for her daily action email here.

Refugees and their plight are often misunderstood. PBS did a documentary in 2000 called Well Founded Fear about the complicated and painful process of claiming asylum in the US.

If you are looking to build some empathy or add your your collection or recommend some books for the young people in your life here are ten YA titles by and about refugees.


Refugee by Alan Gratz

Refugee
by Alan Gratz

Goodreads | Amazon | Audible
Series: Stand Alone
Published: July 25th 2017 
Times read: 1
Recommended by: My friend Wendy

From Goodreads:

If no one saw them, no one could help them. And maybe the world needed to see what was really happening here.

Three different kids.

One mission in common: ESCAPE.

Josef is a Jewish boy in 1930s Nazi Germany. With the threat of concentration camps looming, he and his family board a ship bound for the other side of the world…

Isabel is a Cuban girl in 1994. With riots and unrest plaguing her country, she and her family set out on a raft, hoping to find safety and freedom in America…

Mahmoud is a Syrian boy in 2015. With his homeland torn apart by violence and destruction, he and his family begin a long trek toward Europe…

All three young people will go on harrowing journeys in search of refuge. All will face unimaginable dangers–from drownings to bombings to betrayals. But for each of them, there is always the hope of tomorrow. And although Josef, Isabel, and Mahmoud are separated by continents and decades, surprising connections will tie their stories together in the end.


The Red Pencil by Andrea Davis Pinkney

The Red Pencil
by Andrea Davis Pinkney

Goodreads | Amazon | Audible
Series: Stand Alone
Published: September 16th 2014
Times read: 1
Recommended by: Found in the library

From Goodreads:

Finally, Amira is twelve. Old enough to wear a toob, old enough for new responsibilities. And maybe old enough to go to school in Nyala--Amira's one true dream.

But life in her peaceful Sudanese village is shattered when the Janjaweed arrive. The terrifying attackers ravage the town and unleash unspeakable horrors. After she loses nearly everything, Amira needs to dig deep within herself to find the strength to make the long journey--on foot--to safety at a refugee camp. Her days are tough at the camp, until the gift of a simple red pencil opens her mind--and all kinds of possibilities.

“Amira, look at me,” Muma insists.
She collects both my hands in hers.”
The Janjaweed attack without warning.
If ever they come—run.”

The Bone Sparrow by Zana Fraillon

The Bone Sparrow
by Zana Fraillon

Goodreads | Amazon
Series: Stand Alone
Published: November 1st 2016 
Times read: 1
Recommended by: Wendy… again. I think we were screening books for her new unit.

From Goodreads:

Subhi is a refugee. Born in an Australian permanent detention center after his mother and sister fled the violence of a distant homeland, Subhi has only ever known life behind the fences. But his world is far bigger than that—every night, the magical Night Sea from his mother's stories brings him gifts, the faraway whales sing to him, and the birds tell their stories. And as he grows, his imagination threatens to burst beyond the limits of his containment.
The most vivid story of all, however, is the one that arrives one night in the form of Jimmie—a scruffy, impatient girl who appears on the other side of the wire fence and brings with her a notebook written by the mother she lost. Unable to read it herself, she relies on Subhi to unravel her family's love songs and tragedies.
Subhi and Jimmie might both find comfort—and maybe even freedom—as their tales unfold. But not until each has been braver than ever before.

To those who refuse to be blinded by the glare, or deafened by the hush, who are brave enough to question, and curious enough to explore. To those who will not forget. You will make a difference. And to the rest of us, so that we may learn how.

No Safe Place by Deborah Ellis

No Safe Place
by Deborah Ellis

Goodreads | Amazon | Audible
Series: Stand Alone
Published: September 1st 2010 
Times read: 1
Recommended by: Goodreads

From Goodreads:

Germany was not a place for her to stay. France was next, then England. She’d find somewhere. The world was a big place. She’d find a home.

Orphaned and plagued with the grief of losing everyone he loves, fifteen-year-old Abdul has made a long, fraught journey from his war-torn home in Baghdad, only to end up in The Jungle -- the squalid, makeshift migrant community in Calais.

When an altercation at the soup kitchen ends up with him accidently stabbing a policeman, Abdul has to flee, and in desperation he takes a spot in a small boat heading to England. A sudden skirmish leaves the boat stalled in the middle of the Channel, the pilot dead, and four young people remaining -- Abdul; Rosalia, a Romani girl who has escaped from the white slave trade; Cheslav, gone AWOL from a Russian military school; and Jonah, the boat pilot's ten-year-old nephew.

The four of them end up hijacking a yacht and, despite their fear and mistrust, they form a kind of makeshift family. And as the authorities close in on them, they find refuge in an unusual place -- a child's secret cave on the English coast. 


The Good Braider  by Terry Farish

The Good Braider
by Terry Farish

Goodreads | Amazon | Audible
Series: Stand Alone
Published: May 1st 2012
Times read: 1
Recommended by: Found in the library

From Goodreads:

We both keep walking in the desert, following a fragile dream of America.

In spare free verse laced with unforgettable images, Viola’s strikingly original voice sings out the story of her family's journey from war-torn Sudan, to Cairo, and finally to Portland, Maine. Here, in the sometimes too close embrace of the local Southern Sudanese Community, she dreams of South Sudan while she tries to navigate the strange world of America a world where a girl can wear a short skirt, get a tattoo or even date a boy; a world that puts her into sharp conflict with her traditional mother who, like Viola, is struggling to braid together the strands of a displaced life.

Terry Farish's haunting novel is not only a riveting story of escape and survival, but the universal tale of a young immigrant's struggle to build a life on the cusp of two cultures.


90 Miles to Havana by Enrique Flores-Galbis

90 Miles to Havana
by Enrique Flores-Galbis 

Goodreads | Amazon | Audible
Series: Stand Alone
Published: August 3rd 2010
Times read: 1
Recommended by: full review of 90 Miles to Havana

From Goodreads:

90 Miles to Havana is a 2011 Pura Belpré Honor Book for Narrative and a 2011 Bank Street Best Children's Book of the Year.

When Julian's parents make the heartbreaking decision to send him and his two brothers away from Cuba to Miami via the Pedro Pan operation, the boys are thrust into a new world where bullies run rampant and it's not always clear how best to protect themselves. 

Angelita and I are dancing on a groaning table like its New Year’s Eve, as if our revolution is over and Caballo the dictator has grabbed all the desserts and flown away.

Inside Out & Back Again by Thanhha Lai

Inside Out & Back Again
by Thanhha Lai

Goodreads | Amazon | Audible
Series: Stand Alone
Published: February 22nd 2011
Times read: 1
Recommended by: Goodreads and read for my Vietnam trip

From Goodreads:

Oh, my daughter,
at times you have to fight,
but preferably
not with your fists.

For all the ten years of her life, Hà has only known Saigon: the thrills of its markets, the joy of its traditions, and the warmth of her friends close by. But now the Vietnam War has reached her home. Hà and her family are forced to flee as Saigon falls, and they board a ship headed toward hope. In America, Hà discovers the foreign world of Alabama: the coldness of its strangers, the dullness of its food . . . and the strength of her very own family.


Salt to the Sea by Ruta Sepetys

Salt to the Sea
by Ruta Sepetys 

Goodreads | Amazon | Audible
Series: Stand Alone
Published: February 2nd 2016
Times read: 1
Recommended by: Full review of Salt to the Sea

From Goodreads:

World War II is drawing to a close in East Prussia and thousands of refugees are on a desperate trek toward freedom, many with something to hide. Among them are Joana, Emilia, and Florian, whose paths converge en route to the ship that promises salvation, the Wilhelm Gustloff. Forced by circumstance to unite, the three find their strength, courage, and trust in each other tested with each step closer to safety.

Just when it seems freedom is within their grasp, tragedy strikes. Not country, nor culture, nor status matter as all ten thousand people—adults and children alike—aboard must fight for the same thing: survival.

I became good at pretending. I became so good that after a while the lines blurred between my truth and fiction. And sometimes, when I did a really good job of pretending, I even fooled myself.

Give Me Shelter: Stories About Children Who Seek Asylum by Tony Bradman

Give Me Shelter: Stories About Children Who Seek Asylum
by Tony Bradman

Goodreads | Amazon
Series: Stand Alone
Published: June 11th 2007 
Times read: 1
Recommended by: Goodreads

From Goodreads:

The phrase “asylum seeker” is one heard in the media all the time. It stimulates fierce and controversial debate in arguments about migration, race, and religion. The movement of people from poor or struggling countries to those where there may be opportunities for a better life has been a constant in human history, but it is something with particular relevance in this time of wide-scale political and social upheaval. Featuring stories from youth based in trouble spots around the world — including Kosovo, Ethiopia, Vietnam, Eritrea, Zaire, Sudan, Somalia, Iraq, Zimbabwe, and Kurdistan — this collection of stories spotlights people who have been forced to leave their homes or families to seek help and shelter elsewhere. This book has no political axe to grind, simply recording the truth of these children’s stories without assigning blame. Some are about young people traveling to other countries; others are concerned with young ones left behind when parents are forced to flee. These are stories about physical and emotional suffering but also about humanity — of both those who endure unimaginable hardship and those who help them. 


Escape from Aleppo by N.H. Senzai

Escape from Aleppo
by N.H. Senzai 

Goodreads | Amazon
Series: Stand Alone
Published: January 2nd 2018 
Times read: 1
Recommended by: I an a fan of N.H. Senzai 

From Goodreads:

Fear curled through her belly. Her ears homed in on the echoes, imagining them as waves that rippled from a stone thrown into a pond. With lightning speed, her mind calculated the vibrations back to the point of the bomb’s impact, a skill she’d perfected since the war began.

Nadia’s family is forced to flee their home in Aleppo, Syria, when the Arab Spring sparks a civil war in this timely coming-of-age novel from award-winning author N.H. Senzai.

Silver and gold balloons. A birthday cake covered in pink roses. A new dress. 

Nadia stands at the center of attention in her parents’ elegant dining room. This is the best day of my life, she thinks. Everyone is about to sing “Happy Birthday,” when her uncle calls from the living room, “Baba, brothers, you need to see this.” Reluctantly, she follows her family into the other room. On TV, a reporter stands near an overturned vegetable cart on a dusty street. Beside it is a mound of smoldering ashes. The reporter explains that a vegetable vendor in the city of Tunis burned himself alive, protesting corrupt government officials who have been harassing his business. Nadia frowns.

It is December 17, 2010: Nadia’s twelfth birthday and the beginning of the Arab Spring. Soon anti-government protests erupt across the Middle East and, one by one, countries are thrown into turmoil. As civil war flares in Syria and bombs fall across Nadia’s home city of Aleppo, her family decides to flee to safety. Inspired by current events, this novel sheds light on the complicated situation in Syria that has led to an international refugee crisis, and tells the story of one girl’s journey to safety.

Have you called your reps?

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Following the News: NonFiction Books on Immigration

Following the News: NonFiction Books on Immigration

I haven’t lived in the US for a decade. In the last ten years I have lived in four different counties on three different continents. And aside from a small fiasco in Morocco I have have never had the slightest difficulty getting a VISA or permission for permanent residence. But here are some other facts:
1. I am white
2. I have an American passport
3. I am financially soluble
4. My schools have sponsored me
5. I am educated
6. I haven’t been demonized
7. I have had professional help with the paperwork.

No one has been afraid of me. No one thinks that I am stealing a job. I don’t speak Mandarin, Darija, French, or Mongolian well enough to carry on more than the most basic conversations. Not one person in the last ten years has ever made an issue of that. In fact, almost daily people around me have gone out of their way to help me in small ways and large when I don’t understand what is going on. I have Chinese “social security”, have been covered by the German heath care system, and used public transport, roads, hospitals, police stations, and all manner of other public works. No one had ever implied that I am drain on their country.

All of this makes me that much more disgusted, heartbroken and enraged when I see what is going on in the US. Our political policies of the last 70 years have directly led to both the Syrian refugee crisis and the caravan coming from Central America. Our impossible immigration policies have ensured that getting the proper documentation is confusing, expensive, and for the most vulnerable unlikely. I am so sick with disgust at my country right now that if America was a person I wouldn’t be able to look at it or speak to it.

America can and must do better. If you are American take five minutes and call your representatives. I live in China and have a 13 hour time difference with mine. I have still called almost every day for the last two years. Make your voice heard.

Need some help?

Sign a ACLU petition to STOP THE GOVERNMENT FROM ABUSING IMMIGRANT CHILDREN.
Sign an ACLU petition to Stop Families being Seperated
Follow @Celeste_Pewter on Twitter
Check out her thread here for a script to call your representatives. Celeste is amazing and writes one for almost issue that comes up. You can also sign up for her daily action email here.


Undocumented: How Immigration Became Illegal by Aviva Chomsky

Undocumented: How Immigration Became Illegal
by Aviva Chomsky

Goodreads | Amazon | Audible
Series: Stand Alone
Published: May 13th 2014

From Goodreads:

Countries, sovereignty, citizenship, and laws are all social constructions: abstractions invented by humans.

Explores what it means to be undocumented in a legal, social, economic and historical context
 
In this illuminating work, immigrant rights activist Aviva Chomsky shows how “illegality” and “undocumentedness” are concepts that were created to exclude and exploit. With a focus on US policy, she probes how people, especially Mexican and Central Americans, have been assigned this status—and to what ends. Blending history with human drama, Chomsky explores what it means to be undocumented in a legal, social, economic, and historical context. The result is a powerful testament of the complex, contradictory, and ever-shifting nature of status in America.


They Take Our Jobs!: And 20 Other Myths about Immigration by Aviva Chomsky

They Take Our Jobs!: And 20 Other Myths about Immigration
by Aviva Chomsky

Goodreads | Amazon | Audible
Series: Stand Alone
Published: June 1st 2007

From Goodreads:

If our goal is to slow migration, then the best way to do so is to work for a more equitable global system. But slowing migration is an odd goal, if the real problem is global inequality.

laims that immigrants take Americans' jobs, are a drain on the American economy, contribute to poverty and inequality, destroy the social fabric, challenge American identity, and contribute to a host of social ills by their very existence are openly discussed and debated at all levels of society. Chomsky dismantles twenty of the most common assumptions and beliefs underlying statements like "I'm not against immigration, only illegal immigration" and challenges the misinformation in clear, straightforward prose.

In exposing the myths that underlie today's debate, Chomsky illustrates how the parameters and presumptions of the debate distort how we think—and have been thinking—about immigration. She observes that race, ethnicity, and gender were historically used as reasons to exclude portions of the population from access to rights. Today, Chomsky argues, the dividing line is citizenship. Although resentment against immigrants and attempts to further marginalize them are still apparent today, the notion that non-citizens, too, are created equal is virtually absent from the public sphere. Engaging and fresh, this book will challenge common assumptions about immigrants, immigration, and U.S. history. 


The Accidental American: Immigration and Citizenship in the Age of Globalization by Rinku Sen

The Accidental American: Immigration and Citizenship in the Age of Globalization
by Rinku Sen

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Series: Stand Alone
Published: September 1st 2008

From Goodreads:

Assumption prevents us from acknowledging the full humanity.

The Accidental American vividly illustrates the challenges and contradictions of U. S. immigration policy, and argues that, just as there is a free flow of capital in the world economy, there should be a free flow of labor. Author Rinku Sen alternates chapters telling the story of one "accidental American"--coauthor Fekkak Mamdouh, a Morrocan-born waiter at a restaurant in the World Trade Center whose life was thrown into turmoil on 9/11--with a thorough critique of current immigration policy. Sen and Mamdouh describe how members of the largely immigrant food industry workforce managed to overcome divisions in the aftermath of 9/11 and form the Restaurant Opportunities Center of New York (ROC-NY) to fight for jobs and more equitable treatment. This extraordinary story serves to illuminate the racial, cultural, and economic conflicts embedded in the current immigration debate and helps frame the argument for a more humane immigration and global labor system.


Go Back to Where You Came From: The Backlash Against Immigration and the Fate of Western Democracy by Sasha Polakow-Suransky

Go Back to Where You Came From: The Backlash Against Immigration and the Fate of Western Democracy
by Sasha Polakow-Suransky

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Series: Stand Alone
Published: October 17th 2017 

From Goodreads:

The greatest threat to liberal democracies does not come from immigrants and refugees but from the backlash against them by those on the inside who exploit fear of outsiders to chip away at the values and institutions that make our societies liberal.

What if politicians pose a graver threat to liberal democracy than mass migration? 
Brexit and Donald Trump's victory were just the beginning--and Marine Le Pen's defeat does not signal a turning of the tide. --From the Introduction
From Europe to the United States, opportunistic politicians have exploited the economic crisis, terrorist attacks, and an unprecedented influx of refugees to bring hateful and reactionary views from the margins of political discourse into the mainstream. They have won the votes of workers, women, gays, and Jews; turned openly xenophobic ideas into state policy; and pulled besieged centrist parties to the right. How did we get here?
In this deeply reported account, Sasha Polakow-Suransky provides a front-row seat to the anger, desperation, and dissent that are driving some voters into the arms of the far right and stirring others to resist. He introduces readers to refugees in the Calais "Jungle" and the angry working-class neighbors who want them out; a World War II refugee-turned-rabbi who became a leading defender of Muslim immigrants; the children of Holocaust survivors who have become apologists for the new right; and alt-right activists and the intellectuals who enable them.
Polakow-Suransky chronicles how the backlash against refugees and immigrants has reshaped our political landscape. Ultimately, he argues that the greatest threat comes not from outside, but from within--even established democracies are at risk of betraying their core values and falling apart. 


Living "Illegal": The Human Face of Unauthorized Immigration by Marie Friedmann Marquardt

Living "Illegal": The Human Face of Unauthorized Immigration
by Marie Friedmann Marquardt

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Series: Stand Alone
Published: August 16th 2011 

From Goodreads:

These immigrants are not simply workers; they are complex and fully human people, with families, dreams, and desires.

Today’s polarized debates over immigration revolve around a set of one-dimensional characters and unchallenged stereotypes. Yet the resulting policy prescriptions, not least of them Arizona’s draconian new law SB 1070, are dangerously real and profoundly counterproductive.

A major new antidote to this trend, Living “Illegal” is an ambitious new account of the least understood and most relevant aspects of the American immigrant experience today. Based on years of research into the lives of ordinary migrants, Living “Illegal” offers richly textured stories of real people—working, building families, and enriching their communities even as the political climate grows more hostile.

Moving far beyond stock images and conventional explanations, Living “Illegal” challenges our assumptions about why immigrants come to the United States, where they settle, and how they have adapted to the often confusing patchwork of local immigration ordinances. This revealing narrative takes us into Southern churches (which have quietly emerged as the only organizations open to migrants), into the fields of Florida, onto the streets of major American cities during the historic immigrant rights marches of 2006, and back and forth across different national boundaries—from Brazil to Mexico and Guatemala.

A deeply humane book, Living “Illegal” will stand as an authoritative new guide to one of the most pressing issues of our time.


Elsewhere, Within Here: Immigration, Refugeeism and the Boundary Event by Trinh T. Minh-ha

Elsewhere, Within Here: Immigration, Refugeeism and the Boundary Event
by Trinh T. Minh-ha

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Series: Stand Alone
Published: September 22nd 2010 

From Goodreads:

The wall of security is in fact a wall of insecurity.

Winner of the 2012 Critics Choice Book Award of the American Educational Studies Association (AESA)

World-renowned filmmaker and feminist, postcolonial thinker Trinh T. Minh-ha is one of the most powerful and articulate voices in both independent filmmaking and cultural politics.

Elsewhere, Within Here is an engaging look at travel across national borders--as a foreigner, a tourist, an immigrant, a refugee--in a pre- and post-9/11 world. Who is welcome where? What does it mean to feel out of place in the country you call home? When does the stranger appear in these times of dark metamorphoses? These are some of the issues addressed by the author as she examines the cultural meaning and complexities of travel, immigration, home and exile. The boundary, seen both as a material and immaterial event, is where endings pass into beginnings. Building upon themes present in her earlier work on hybridity and displacement in the median passage, and illuminating the ways in which "every voyage can be said to involve a re-siting of boundaries," Trinh T. Minh-ha leads her readers through an investigation of what it means to be an insider and an outsider in this "epoch of global fear."

Elsewhere, Within Here is essential reading for those interested in contemporary feminist thought and postcolonial studies. 


Denied, Detained, Deported: Stories from the Dark Side of American Immigration by Ann Bausum

Denied, Detained, Deported: Stories from the Dark Side of American Immigration
by Ann Bausum

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Series: Stand Alone
Published: April 14th 2009

From Goodreads:

With painstaking research, an unerring eye for just the right illustration, and her unique narrative style, award-winning author Ann Bausum makes the history of immigration in America come alive for young people. The story of America has always been shaped by people from all corners of the Earth who came in search of a better life and a brighter future. Immigration remains one of the critical topics in 21st century America, and how our children learn the lessons of the past will shape all our futures.

The patriotic stories of hope that shape most immigration books are supplemented here by the lesser-known stories of those denied, detained, and deported. Ann Bausum’s compelling book presents a revealing series of snapshots from the dark side of immigration history including: 

   •  Immigrants Denied: The St. Louis, a ship filled with Jewish refugees from Nazi Germany sought refuge in American ports and was turned away, condemning many of its passengers to ultimately perish in the Holocaust.
   • Immigrants Detained: Japanese-Americans were rounded up during World War II and placed in detention centers—regardless of their patriotism—for security reasons.
   • Immigrants Deported: Emma Goldman was branded a dangerous extremist and sent back to Russia in 1919, after living 30 years in the United States.


Ann Bausum creates a bridge from the lessons of the past to the present with fascinating analysis of how our past has influenced modern events and current views on immigration.


A Nation of Nations: A Story of America After the 1965 Immigration Lawby Tom Gjelten

A Nation of Nations: A Story of America After the 1965 Immigration Law
by Tom Gjelten

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Series: Stand Alone
Published: September 29th 2015

From Goodreads:

In the fifty years since the 1965 Immigration and Nationality Act, the foreign-born population of the United States has tripled. Significantly, these immigrants are not coming from Europe, as was the case before 1965, but from all corners of the globe.In 1950, Fairfax County, Virginia, was ninety percent white, ten percent African American, with a little more than one hundred families who were "other." Currently the African American percentage of the population is about the same, but the Anglo white population is less than fifty percent, and there are families of Asian, African, Middle Eastern, and Latin American origin living all over the county. A Nation of Nations follows the lives of a few immigrants to Fairfax County over recent decades as they gradually "Americanize." Hailing from Korea, Bolivia, and Libya, these families have stories that illustrate common immigrant themes: friction, economic competition and entrepreneurship, and racial and cultural stereotyping.It's been half a century since the 1965 Immigration and Nationality Act changed the landscape of America, and no book has assessed the impact or importance of this law as this one does, with its brilliant combination of personal stories and larger demographic and political issues. 

Like the immigrants of a century earlier, they took risks and were rewarded for their perseverance and initiative. The obstacles they faced, on the other hand, were bigger than anything their predecessors encountered. These new immigrants could not disappear easily into a white Euro-American society, no matter how hard they tried.

Targeted: Homeland Security and the Business of Immigration by Deepa Fernandes,

Targeted: Homeland Security and the Business of Immigration
by Deepa Fernandes

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Series: Stand Alone
Published: October 1st 2006 

From Goodreads:

America has always portrayed itself as a country of immigrants, welcoming each year the millions seeking a new home or refuge in this land of plenty. Increasingly, instead of finding their dream, many encounter a nightmare--a country whose culture and legal system aggressively target and prosecute them.
In Targeted, journalist Deepa Fernandes seamlessly weaves together history, political analysis, and first-person narratives of those caught in the grips of the increasingly Kafkaesque U.S. Homeland Security system. She documents how in post-9/11 America immigrants have come to be deemed a national security threat.
Fernandes--herself an immigrant well-acquainted with U.S. immigration procedures--takes the reader on a harrowing journey inside the new American immigrant experience, a journey marked by militarized border zones, racist profiling, criminalization, detention and deportation. She argues that since 9/11, the Bush administration has been carrying out a series of systematic changes to decades-old immigration policy that constitute a roll back of immigrant rights and a boon for businesses who are helping to enforce the crackdown on immigrants, creating a growing "Immigration Industrial Complex." She also documents the bullet-to-ballot strategy of white supremacist elements that influence our new immigration legislation.

It illustrates how these individuals and groups, whose prime agenda is to halt all immigration to the United States, have led a calculated and quiet campaign to sway the public debate firmly into their camp. By infiltrating Congress, these white nationalist groups have been behind every key piece of legislation that has passed in the last decade.

White Backlash: Immigration, Race, and American Politics by Marisa Abrajano

White Backlash: Immigration, Race, and American Politics
by Marisa Abrajano

Goodreads | Amazon
Series: Stand Alone
Published: March 22nd 2015

From Goodreads:

White Backlash provides an authoritative assessment of how immigration is reshaping the politics of the nation. Using an array of data and analysis, Marisa Abrajano and Zoltan Hajnal show that fears about immigration fundamentally influence white Americans' core political identities, policy preferences, and electoral choices, and that these concerns are at the heart of a large-scale defection of whites from the Democratic to the Republican Party.

Abrajano and Hajnal demonstrate that this political backlash has disquieting implications for the future of race relations in America. White Americans' concerns about Latinos and immigration have led to support for policies that are less generous and more punitive and that conflict with the preferences of much of the immigrant population. America's growing racial and ethnic diversity is leading to a greater racial divide in politics. As whites move to the right of the political spectrum, racial and ethnic minorities generally support the left. Racial divisions in partisanship and voting, as the authors indicate, now outweigh divisions by class, age, gender, and other demographic measures.

White Backlash raises critical questions and concerns about how political beliefs and future elections will change the fate of America's immigrants and minorities, and their relationship with the rest of the nation.

With a clear majority of the white population now on the Republican side and a clear majority of the minority population now on the Democratic one, political conflict in the United States is increasingly likely to be synonymous with racial conflict—a pattern that threatens ever-greater racial tension.

Have you called your reps?

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