Diane Guerrero, the television actress from the megahit Orange is the New Black and Jane the Virgin, was just fourteen years old on the day her parents and brother were arrested and deported while she was at school. Born in the U.S., Guerrero was able to remain in the country and continue her education, depending on the kindness of family friends who took her in and helped her build a life and a successful acting career for herself, without the support system of her family.
In the Country We Love is a moving, heartbreaking story of one woman’s extraordinary resilience in the face of the nightmarish struggles of undocumented residents in this country. There are over 11 million undocumented immigrants living in the US, many of whom have citizen children, whose lives here are just as precarious, and whose stories haven’t been told. Written with Michelle Burford, this memoir is a tale of personal triumph that also casts a much-needed light on the fears that haunt the daily existence of families likes the author’s and on a system that fails them over and over. (goodreads.com)
Cried multiple times reading IN THE COUNTRY WE LOVE. I can’t even imagine what Guerrero felt when her parents were taken away from her.
Everything is told in Guerrero’s own voice. It feels authentic, like she’s talking right to me as I read. I can hear her say every word. I can only imagine how hard it was for her to recount all of this, but it’s a story that people need to read. Especially in light of the fascist anti-immigration movement being spearheaded by this country’s very president (I would say our own president but, you know, #notmypresident).
If someone who’s anti-immigration and pro-rampant deportation were to read this and still feel the same way about it, I’d consider them a completely soulless individual who cares nothing about facts and everything about argument for argument’s sake at the cost of people’s lives. In the face of facts proving otherwise they’ll continue to say that immigrants like Guerrero’s parents took jobs from American citizens (despite the fact that said Americans are far too prideful and overconfident in their own self-worth to do those very jobs and in fact did not to them), that the job loss had nothing to do with trade policy or advances in technology. They’ll continue to see them as criminals, deserving of every dupe and prison cell they have coming to them. They’ll fail to understand that the way to decrease the amount of immigration this country sees is not by building a wall, but by reaching out to these more impoverished, crime-ridden countries and bolstering them. Helping them get social services implemented, driving jobs to the country, improving education so that they don’t want to leave to find something better because they’ll already have it. Instead they’ll just take their toys, go home, and lock the door. It’s easier to ignore the problem than actually think about fixing it.
This is a true story, one of thousands, if not millions, of our current immigration system in this country. It’s a system that tears families apart, leaving a child to fend for herself. Forgotten. It’s about holding immigrants to an even hire standard than the people who live here purely based on the technicality that they’ve been sliding out of vaginas on American soil longer. The stingerless WASPs need to remember that they’re not native either. That their ancestors were escaping injustice and persecution too, looking for a better life. We are a country with the brain of that dude in Memento when it comes to history. It was different then . . . How?
So if you want a gut punch in your life, to have your hearth wrung out while you’re reading, read Guerrero’s IN THE COUNTRY WE LOVE. It should be required reading as a human to get a better understanding what irrational and ignorant ideals can get us.