I can’t even begin to imagine the time, research, energy, courage, and emotional toll that creating this book took on all of the participants. I personally think it is amazing piece of work: a true story of one woman’s immigration struggle in the US, entwined with the stories of others close to her, all enshrouded by the history of US immigration laws, and why they function the way they work today, and who they actually work for.
As an immigrant who spent years in a tough situation, walking a tightrope that would become strained with the weight of everything many a time, it drives me mad when people make general assumptions and complete generalizations about immigrants and the immigration process here. It often appears to me that people don’t really want to understand how complicated it actually is, or why people would want/have to come here in the first place. The Death and Life of Aida Hernandez: A Border Story is the type of book that needs to be read in order to get some kind of understanding into the complexities of immigration and border policies here in the US. And also on immigrants in general: we don’t fit into a specific sized box with a list of boundaries marked on the side. We are all human beings, prone to the same qualities and faults and mistakes and accomplishments that US citizens are. Except our mistakes are often used against us, and we have to live with that constant fear every day.
The Death and Life of Aida Hernandez: A Border Story is the story of Aida Hernandez, of her family, of her history and her family’s history, of Douglas, AZ, and Agua Prieta in Mexico. It is the story of prosperity and poverty due to industrialization, of immigration policies, and natural migration patterns, of family separation, immigration incarceration, and increasingly militarized borders. It is also the story of domestic violence, trauma, abuse, and PTSD, and the story of courage and strength to fight in order to see a better day.
Aaron Bobrow-Strain does an amazing job of telling Aida’s story but also providing the much, much larger picture, using important facts to illustrate how immigration policies came to what they are today. He also provides detailed accounts on how difficult the processes are to navigate, and exactly who profits from them right now. This book is not an easy read but it is a brilliant read, and Aaron Bobrow-Strain balances the story perfectly with background information and important fact. Don’t expect to read this in one setting, but do expect to take tons of notes, learn a lot, and open your eyes. I have personally spent a lot of time navigating impossible immigration processes, but I also learnt loads from this book. In my opinion it would greatly benefit the average US citizen to read this as it will help provide a better image of US immigration today than the everyday news and current administration does.