Jacqueline Guillén EVA

Eva and her brother Aaron were born in the United States to a Mexican mother and an American father. Eva steps up at a young age to fill Anita’s shoes, looking after her siblings and father once Anita has been deported. Although she initially plans on going to college, Eva decides to join the workforce after graduating high school to provide additional income to her family and eventually goes to nursing school. Eva is an example of how children of deported parents often have to mature faster than their peers.

Tyler Alvarez AARON

Although Aaron is grew up wanting to be a veteranarian, he eventually enlists in the Marines. This decision is in part to honor his brother Christian, who always wanted to become a Marine but isn’t able to due to his citizenship status. Born in the United States, Aaron is eligible to enlist and in doing so chooses to take on the weight of the challenges facing his family. He gives up his dream of becoming a veterinarian because he feels the pressure of “making up” for Billy’s criminal offenses and hopes that serving in the United States military might prove to the authorities that his family deserves to stay in the U.S.


In the U.S., there are many different terms used to describe and identify individuals, statuses, and legal processes around immigration to this country. Read on for definitions of some of this terminology from an American perspective:

IMMIGRANT: A person who comes from another country to live in the U.S.

NON-CITIZEN: Someone who is not a U.S. citizen

NON-IMMIGRANT: A person who has been lawfully admitted to the U.S. for a specific and temporary purpose (e.g. work or study)

UNDOCUMENTED: a descriptor for someone who lacks lawful documentation to reside in the U.S.

ILLEGAL IMMIGRANT/ALIEN: Terms used in the Immigration and Nationality Act to refer to non-citizens. These terms can stereotype and depersonalize undocumented persons who are in the U.S.—”non-status immigrant” is a more neutral alternative.

THE RE-ENTRY PERMIT: Also known as Permit to Re-Enter, this is a travel document similar to a certificate of identity, issued by the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services to U.S. lawful permanent residents to allow them to travel abroad and return to the U.S. Without a Re-entry Permit, a permanent resident that is outside the country for more than a year will most likely be denied re-entry into the U.S. on the grounds that they have abandoned their permanent resident status.

HUMANITARIAN PAROLE: Humanitarian parole is used sparingly to bring someone who is otherwise inadmissible into the United States for a temporary period of time due to a compelling emergency. There must be an urgent humanitarian reasons or significant public benefit for parole to be granted.

INADMISSIBLE: A descriptor for someone who is legally unable to enter or stay in the U.S.

DEPORTATION/REMOVAL: When someone is ordered to leave the country, or removed from the country

BORDER: The border between the United States and Mexico

COYOTE: A colloquial Mexican-Spanish term referring to those who smuggle people across the border in exchange for a fee

WORK PERMIT: A special status given by USCIS (United States Citizenship and Immigration Services) that lets a person work in the U.S. Citizens and green card holders do not need work permits.

ADJUSTMENT OF STATUS: How immigrants already in the U.S. can apply for permanent immigration status



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