Book by: Eileen Traux
Review by: Ohanna Turcios-Ramirez
Academic Advising and Transfer Center
Truckee Meadows Community College
As children, some dream of becoming nurses, teachers, or someone with an education that can make a change in the world. At a young age, they are groomed to believe that they can become anything they set their minds too and, if they work hard enough, maybe just maybe they can make their dream a reality. For many, they are able to graduate high school and continue onto college without the slightest struggle, but sadly, not everyone with those hopes and aspirations will be given the chance to make their dreams into a reality in the country they call their own, and often rejects them.
Eileen Trauax’s Dreamers: Undocumented and Unafraid, brings to attention the challenges, risks, and limitations imposed on students who have come to the United States, often undocumented and involuntarily, and are known as the “illegals” or “aliens” of this nation. Regardless, they are proud to call themselves American. Compiled of information on policies, legislature, and immigration laws that have been placed, the book also shares ten heartbreaking stories from students across the nation. Documented and undocumented, their stories present grit, tenacity, and perseverance, and voice their opinions on the laws of the nations, school policies, and limitations put upon them.
Mandeep Chahal was six years old when she arrived in the United States. She had a dream of becoming a doctor and was voted “most likely to save the world”. Yet, her own world changed. At the age of 21, the initiation of her deportation began along with her family, but her community gathered together to send almost 20,000 messages to the Department of Homeland Security. Nancy Landa, was nine years old when she crossed the border from Mexico with her brother and parents involuntarily. At the age of 29 she was working for a government office in California when she was removed again from the place she had come to call home. Going about her daily activities to head to work, she was detained by immigration and, within the same day, she was left in Tijuana with forty dollars, some credit cards, her cellphone, and the clothes on her back. Joaquin Luna Lerma is one of millions whose story ends with his body buried six feet deep. He was a dreamer and had dreamt of becoming an engineer. He was aware of his status and that his dream would be unlike any other challenge he had faced, but on Thanksgiving Day at the age of 19, he came to believe his dream could never become reality and committed suicide at his home while his mom slept.
These are a couple of many stories that share the difficulties of being undocumented and striving for education. It is important to understand that in a country where freedom and equality is given, not all populations have an equal chance of achieving the American Dream. As Academic Advisors, it is impossible to be aware of students status nor is it right to ask, but it is important consider some of the students’ struggles to achieve a postsecondary education. Filled with information on our country’s journey to the current immigration laws and stories of those who live in light of those, this book is willing to scratch the surface and bring to importance the faces behind the numbers.
Dreamers: An Immigrant Generation’s Fight for Their American Dream. (2015). Book by Eileen Traux. Review by Ohanna Turcios-Ramirez. Boston, MA: Beacon Press. 220pp., $15.00, (Paperback), ISBN 978-0-8070-3033-2