Can you imagine coming home one day only to find out your parents are gone because they were deported? What if you were only 14?
In the Country We Love is an incredible and eyeopening memoir by Diane Geurrero, one of the stars from Orange Is The New Black. Her parents were undocumented immigrants from Colombia living in the United States. They originally came to the States legally and were unable to get their visa’s renewed but spent years trying to become legal residents or citizens.
In a terrifying turn of events, Diane came home from school one day when she was 14 to learn that her parents had been arrested and due to be deported. For whatever reason, Diane completely fell through the cracks, child protection agents never came to check on her and she would have been completely alone had it not been for the help of her two best friends and their families.
I can’t even begin to imagine how traumatic an experience like this would be. I was completely inspired by how much Diane persevered through her experiences. I can’t even imagine a reality in which you’ve lost so much but are terrified to tell anyone about what happened.
Diane Guerrero’s story was so eye opening because it really brought light to what it’s really like for families where the parents (and maybe even some siblings) are undocumented. Because of the climate I exist in (sociology major, very liberal community/friends), I feel like I already have very complex understanding when it comes to undocumented immigrants and it’s not as black and white in my mind as “they’re breaking the law and should be sent back”. The humanness was really brought home for me when I read In the Country We Love because it was a personal story instead of just a discussion on policy. It is heartbreaking to think of all the legal citizen-born children of undocumented immigrants who are left behind in the States like Diane Guerrero and, as it seems, it isn’t uncommon for them to fall through the cracks.
I feel like it is so hard to talk about immigration, including undocumented immigration because it is so polarizing and complex, and I don’t even want to try to even get into my opinions including because I hardly know enough to begin to say I know all of the answers. I just know that reading or hearing stories like In The Country We Love by Dianne Guerrero can be incredibly insightful because it can really help humanize such an intense issue.
Title: In the Country We Love: My family divided
Author: Diane Guerrero with Michelle Burford
Genre: Non-fiction, memoir
Publication: May 3, 2016
Publisher: Holt, Henry & Company
Page #: 272