Eileen Truax in conversation with Lauren Markham (moderated by Ian Gordon)
Tuesday, September 25, 6:30 pm , Mechanics' Institute Library, 57 Post Street, San Francisco, CA 94104 (Admission : Public $10.00, Members FREE
discussing the subject of
We Built the Wall: How the US Keeps Out Asylum Seekers from Mexico, Central America and Beyond
by Eileen Truax
from Verso Books
The Far Away Brothers: Two Young Migrants and the Making of an American Life
by Lauren Markham
published by Crown
We Built the Wall is an immersive, engrossing look at the new front in the immigration wars. It follows the gripping stories of people like Saúl Reyes, forced to flee his home after a drug cartel murdered several members of his family, and Delmy Calderón, a forty-two-year-old woman leading an eight-woman hunger strike in an El Paso detention center. Truax tracks the heart-wrenching trials of refugees like Yamil, the husband and father who chose a prison cell over deportation to Mexico, and Rocío Hernández, a nineteen-year-old who spent nearly her entire life in Texas and is now forced to live in a city where narcotraffickers operate with absolute impunity.
Originally from Mexico, Eileen Truax is a journalist and immigrant currently living in Los Angeles. She is the author of Dreamers: An Immigrant Generation's Fight For Their American Dream.
Lauren Markham is a writer and reporter based in Northern California. She writes fiction, essays and journalism - mostly about migration, youth, the environment, and the state of California. She is the author of The Far Away Brothers: Two Young Migrants and the Making of an American Life published in September 2017 by Crown. The Far Away Brothers is the winner of the 2018 Ridenhour Book Prize, a California Book Award Silver Prize, was named a Barnes & Noble Discover Selection, a New York Times Book Critics' Top Book of 2017, and was shortlisted for the J. Anthony Lukas Book Prize and the L.A. Times Book Award and longlisted for a Pen America Literary Award in Biography. Her essays, fiction and journalism have appeared in outlets such as VQR (where I am a Contributing Editor), Harper's, The New Yorker.com, The Guardian, The New Republic, Guernica, VICE, Mother Jones, Orion, California Sunday, Narrative Magazine, Pacific Standard, and on This American Life.
Ian Gordon is an investigative journalist the managing editor at Mother Jones Magazine.
critical praise for We Build the Wall:
"Eileen Truax has given us an evocative and human portrait of the so-called immigration crisis, bringing together gripping firsthand narratives of refugees with an incisive analysis of America's broken asylum policy. With attention to lives that have been put in jeopardy by Mexican and American governments alike, We Built the Wall is the book we need in this time of rising nationalisms—a must-read clarion call for empathy across borders in the age of Trump."
"We Built the Wall combines the flair of a novel and the depth of the best investigative journalism with a passionate commitment to human rights to take readers into the heart of today's immigration crisis. Truax highlights the voices of people who are fighting for justice on both sides of the border to shed light on the systems that have led to a deeply transnational human rights crisis. Immigration, she makes clear, is the result, not the cause, of this crisis."
"A lucid account of US asylum policy, both during the Cold War, when it was granted overwhelmingly to people leaving the Soviet Union, Cuba and Vietnam, but withheld from people brutalized by Washington's allies—in Guatemala, El Salvador, Haiti—and now in the age of deportation, when Mexicans and Central Americans heading north, including children in fear for their lives, find it almost impossible to obtain refugee status."