SOCIAL SCIENCES

Dear America: Notes of an Undocumented Citizen

Dey St: HarperCollins. Sept. 2018. 256p. ISBN 9780062851352. $25.99; ebk. ISBN 9780062851369. MEMOIR
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OrangeReviewStarWhen Vargas (founder, DefineAmerican.com) was 12, he was brought from his home in the Philippines to California to live with his grandparents. With the help of his community, he succeeded in school and went on to become a Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist. Yet his undocumented status weighed heavily, as he constantly had to lie in order to move through life. Eventually, Vargas went public about his status and founded Define American, an immigrant advocacy organization. Through a series of short essays, he meditates on the difficulty of reconciling his Filipino and American identities, race, the role of journalism and media in the immigration debate, the challenges of living as an undocumented public figure, and the harshness of current immigration policy. He intersperses facts about immigration throughout and argues that immigrants deserve to be a formal part of America.
VERDICT A thought-provoking, moving, and highly personal memoir of Vargas's struggle to belong. Recommended for all readers interested in immigration issues and American identity.

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