On the Same Page: The Undocumented Americans

On the same page: Undocumented Americans

"According to the Migration Policy Institute, around 10 percent of undocumented people are over fifty-five years old. This country takes their youth, their dreams, their labor, and spits them out with nothing to show for it."

– Karla Cornejo Villavicencio, The Undocumented Americans

September–October 2021 Selection

The Undocumented Americans

Karla Cornejo Villavicencio

The Sept./Oct. On the Same Page author is Karla Cornejo Villavicencio, a writer from New York City whose work explores complex, stereotype-defying themes of migration, mental illness, beauty and intergenerational drama.

A Harvard graduate and doctoral candidate in the American Studies program at Yale, she is the author of The Undocumented Americans, a book of literary essays that draws from her own experience as a former, undocumented immigrant from Ecuador, to tell the intimate stories of undocumented people living and working across the U.S. today.

Cornejo Villavicencio reveals the hidden lives of her fellow undocumented Americans, from the volunteers recruited for the 9/11 Ground Zero cleanup to the homeopathy botanicas of Miami that provide limited health care to non-citizens. The Undocumented Americans shows the love, magic, heartbreak and vulgarity infused in the day-to-day lives
of its subjects.

The book was a finalist for the National Book Award for Nonfiction and was selected as one of the best books of the year by the New York Times, Time, NPR, the Los Angeles Times, The New York Public Library, Book Riot, Vulture and Library Journal.

Cornejo Villavicencio and Jonathan Blitzer, staff writer at The New Yorker, will be in conversation on Oct. 26, 6 p.m, in the virtual library.

About the Author

Karla Cornejo Villavicencio is a writer from New York City whose work explores complex, stereotype-defying themes of migration, mental illness, beauty, and intergenerational drama. 

A Harvard graduate and doctoral candidate in the American Studies program at Yale, she is the author of  The Undocumented Americans, a book of literary essays that draws from her own experience as a former, undocumented immigrant from Ecuador, to tell the intimate stories of undocumented immigrants living and working across the U.S. today. The book was a finalist for the National Book Award for Nonfiction, and was selected as one of the best books of the year by The New York Times, Time, NPR, The LA Times, The New York Public Library, Book Riot, Vulture, and the Library Journal. 

Her work has also appeared in the New York Times, The Atlantic, Vogue, Elle, and other publications. As an Emerson Collective Senior Fellow, Karla is working on Dreamgirl, a forthcoming novel for young adults, and continues her non-fiction writing. To learn more about Karla, take a listen to NPR interview and the Immigration & Democracy podcast episode where she was featured along with author Marcelo Hernández Castillo.