Aaron Bobrow-Strain is a politics professor at Whitman College with decades of history working on the U.S.-Mexico Border. His new book, The Death and Life of Aida Hernandez, mixes nonfiction and novel, ethnography and essay, to tell the tale of a single woman as she’s pulled back and forth across this imaginary line. Aida Hernandez—which is not her real name—was brought to the United States when she was in elementary school, ferried across the border from the Mexican town of Agua Prieta to its other half: Douglas, Arizona. She grew up there and had an American son, but she was deported—without him—and only made it back to Douglas after enduring immigration court, for-profit detention, family separation, gendered violence, and a host of attendant traumas. Aida’s is not a Cinderella story, and she’s not a bootstrap immigrant fantasy. Bobrow-Strain joins us on the podcast to talk about how Aida’s life illuminates the everyday consequences of our immigration policy.
Go beyond the episode:
- Aaron Bobrow-Strain’s The Death and Life of Aida Hernandez
- Looking to support groups doing work on the border? Bobrow-Strain offers a list of worthy organizations
- “Rape Trees and Rosary Beads,” by Brendan Linehan, a former Border Patrol agent and current civil rights attorney
- “Paying to Be Locked Up,” by Keramet Reiter, about the criminalization of uncharged detainees
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