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We Are Here to Stay: Voices of Undocumented Young Adults

Review

We Are Here to Stay: Voices of Undocumented Young Adults

Written by Susan Kuklin with Illustrations by Susan Kuklin

Susan Kuklin is an award-winning author and photographer who currently resides in New York City along with her husband. Kuklin’s photos have appeared in Museum of the City of New York, Time, Newsweek, the New York Times, as well as a few documentaries. She has also written over 30 books for children and young adults including NO CHOIRBOY: Murder, Violence, and Teenagers on Death Row and BEYOND MAGENTA: Transgender Teens Speak Out, which was given the title of Stonewall Honor Book. Kuklin’s most recent book, WE ARE HERE TO STAY, follows Kuklin’s style of writing about social issues that affect children and teens.

"WE ARE HERE TO STAY by Susan Kuklin is incredible and illuminating. The stories are heartfelt and poignant. The personality of each young adult shines through the interviews."

DACA --- Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals --- is an executive action by former President Barack Obama. The order states that certain people that arrived in the United States when they were kids and meet certain requirements may request deferred action of two years (subject to renewal) before deportation. The Trump administration announced the motion to end to DACA in 2017. However, due to federal court proceedings, DACA recipients can request to renew grants of deferred action, but other undocumented immigrants who do not have DACA cannot request deferred action for the first time. WE ARE HERE TO STAY is a collection of nine interviews of DACA recipients conducted by Kuklin revealing the humanity behind the statistics.

The nine interviews all follow an undocumented immigrant, but each story is unique. The stories follow young adults from Colombia, Mexico, Ghana, Independent Samoa and South Korea. Some are about escaping a bad situation by going to America; others are about getting stuck in a bad situation by going to America. Despite all the names and photos of the undocumented immigrants being redacted for the protection from deportation, the interviews show the humanity behind each kid --- now, young adult.

WE ARE HERE TO STAY by Susan Kuklin is incredible and illuminating. The stories are heartfelt and poignant. The personality of each young adult shines through the interviews. Kuklin also sheds light on problems that you typically don’t think about or possibly didn’t even know about. The empty picture frames and redacted names almost mean more than what is left out of the book. WE ARE HERE TO STAY shows the story behind something frequently ignored. It is so easy to look at illegal immigration without acknowledging the reasons behind coming to America illegally. WE ARE HERE TO STAY forces people to confront those reasons.

WE ARE HERE TO STAY is a quick read but an important one. If you do not know a lot about undocumented immigrants --- especially undocumented children --- then this book is a great place to start learning about it. Not only does WE ARE HERE TO STAY have those nine interviews, it also has notes and resources at the back of the book that explains the organizations and orders that are mentioned in the book. Susan Kuklin does a great job bringing this book together. WE ARE HERE TO STAY is great book, and anyone who is interested in being politically active in the world today should definitely pick up WE ARE HERE TO STAY by Susan Kuklin.

Reviewed by Rebecca D., Teen Board Member on January 15, 2019

We Are Here to Stay: Voices of Undocumented Young Adults
Written by Susan Kuklin with Illustrations by Susan Kuklin