My Boy Will Die of Sorrow: A Memoir of Immigration from the Front Lines

Hachette. Jul. 2022. 320p. ISBN 9780306847288. $29. MEMOIR
Olivares, a human rights lawyer and immigration policy expert for the Texas Civil Rights Project, has penned a heartfelt first-person exposé of America’s broken immigration system. During the Trump presidency. Olivares aided undocumented immigrants facing federal charges for crossing the Mexican border. He fought to reunite thousands of children separated from their parents at the border and held in often traumatizing conditions at US detention facilities. Olivares alternates between his own story—a Mexican American immigrant and first-generation college student who endured childhood separation from his own father—and the heartbreaking stories of his clients. Especially moving is the story of a father forced to take a DNA test to prove that his little daughter was truly his. The author’s compassion is clear, though autobiographical elements can dampen these stories’ moral urgency, and the two halves of his narrative do not always cohere. For complementary depth and context, see Separated by Jacob Soboroff and Taking Children by Laura Briggs.
VERDICT Readers will appreciate this memoir as a moving firsthand account but also as a call to action to ensure that human rights prevail at America’s borders.
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