My guest today is a young man named Byron. Byron is originally from Guatemala and has been living in the United States with a precarious immigration status. I have decided not to use his last name in this podcast because I fear that he could be deported if political circumstances change.
Much of this discussion is about Byron's upbringing in Guatemala and his journey to the United States at age 15.
Byron went through a lot to reach the United States. His month-long journey included riding on top of trains and spending a week lost in the desert. After that traumatic experience, Byron reunited with his dad in New York, learned English, and graduated high school against all odds.
His story is the story of many immigrants--a story of risk, trauma, hard work, and success.
I chose to call this episode "Crossing the border illegally, and making America great," because I think many people assume that undocumented immigrants are harmful to America. But I believe Byron is exactly the kind of person we need in the US--honest, determined, and dedicated to education and opportunity.
I want to recommend a few excellent books about migration (some of which I assign in my Immigration & Transnationalism course at NYU). Click the covers below to learn more about them:
I'll also recommend some documentaries, including one of my own...
My guest today is Sapreet Kaur. Sapreet served as the executive director of the Sikh Coalition for nine years.
Since the 9/11 attacks and the rise of Donald Trump, Sikhs have increasingly become the targets of hate crimes because of their appearance.
In this episode we talk about: