What happens when an undocumented teen mother takes on the U.S. immigration system?
When Aida Hernandez was born in 1987 in Agua Prieta, Mexico, the nearby U.S. border was little more than a worn-down fence. Eight years later, Aida’s mother took her and her siblings to live in Douglas, Arizona. By then, the border had become one of the most heavily policed sites in America.
Undocumented, Aida fought to make her way. She learned English, watchedFriends, and, after having a baby at sixteen, dreamed of teaching dance and moving with her son to New York City. But life had other plans. Following a misstep that led to her deportation, Aida found herself in a Mexican city marked by violence, in a country that was not hers. To get back to the United States and reunite with her son, she embarked on a harrowing journey. The daughter of a rebel hero from the mountains of Chihuahua, Aida has a genius for survival—but returning to the United Stateswas just the beginning of her quest.
Taking us into detention centers, immigration courts, and the inner lives of Aida and other daring characters,The Death and Life of Aida Hernandez reveals the human consequences of militarizing what was once a more forgiving border. With emotional force and narrative suspense, Aaron Bobrow-Strain brings us into the heart of a violently unequal America. He also shows us that the heroes of our current immigration wars are less likely to be perfect paragons of virtue than complex, flawed human beings who deserve justice and empathy all the same.
“Here, at long last, is a nonfiction account of our country’s immigration drama written with the intelligence, passion, and sweep of a great novel. There are echoes of Victor Hugo and Emile Zola inThe Death and Life of Aida Hernandez. It is a harrowing and intimate account of an epic, cross-border journey, a tale filled with family, violence, love, injustice, perseverance, and, ultimately, redemption.” —Hector Tobar, author ofDeep Down Dark and The Barbarian Nurseries
"Excellently researched and exquisitely told, here is a story of the Americas for our times."—Sandra Cisneros, author ofThe House on Mango Street andWomen Hollering Creek and Other Stories
“Bobrow-Strain, an academic and an immersion journalist of conscience in the mode of Alex Kotlowitz, tells the dramatic true tale of a woman he calls Aida Hernandez with extraordinary clarity and power . . . In this caring and unforgettable borderland saga, Bobrow-Strain reveals the profound personal toll of the immigration crisis.” —Donna Seaman,Booklist(Starred Review)
“A professor combines his academic research with his decades long U.S.-Mexico border activism to brightly illuminate immigration realities by focusing on the struggles of one young woman . . . [A] powerful saga . . . This potent, important work, which 'occupies a space between journalism and ethnography, with a dash of oral history and biography,' adds much to the continuing immigration debate.” —Kirkus(Starred Review)
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