A Plus Book Club

Valeria Luiselli Tells The Story Of Child Migrants In 40 Questions

"Tell Me How It Ends" was February's pick for the A Plus Book Club.

Last week, the A Plus Book Club sat down with Valeria Luiselli to talk to about her essay, Tell Me How It Ends, and her first-hand experience with the thousands of the kids caught in the crosshairs of our country's ongoing debate about immigration

Luiselli, herself, is an immigrant from Mexico. She modeled the essay after a list questions used by nonprofits to interview migrant children seeking asylum in the United States after a dramatic increase in the number of unaccompanied minors led the Obama administration to create a "priority juvenile docket" in 2014, which decreased the number of days children had to find a lawyer from one year to 21 days. Working as a translator for these organizations, Luiselli spoke with kids from Central America, ranging from 6 years old to teenagers, who had risked everything to escape the violence in their communities for a new future. 

The goal of the questionnaire was to give aid workers a better sense of what these kids were fleeing. To these seemingly simple questions, the kids' answers painted a picture of communities that had been torn apart by violence, gangs, and the cross-country narcotics trade. For most, the responses to these questions were literally matters of life or death. 

"We have to push for a system, I think, in which immigration becomes a human rights issue and not a security in the borders issue," Luiselli said. "As soon as we start framing immigration within the discussion of security, everyone becomes a potential criminal. And then the framework of human rights kind of disappears and can be disregarded."

Check out the full conversation in the video above and be sure to join us for next month's A Plus Book Club. As always, if there's a book you'd like to see featured, send your requests to bookclub@aplus.com.

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