Book Reviews-Please click on the quote to access the full review.
"Putting a face to the plight of undocumented students is one of the most valuable and endearing features of this book…Individual stories, vividly described by their protagonists, remind us that although the United States may be the only country these students have known and the only one they have attended, they cannot benefit from the opportunities enjoyed by their more fortunate documented classmates. We ARE Americans will be of interest to readers willing to learn more about one of the most insurmountable challenges for undocumented immigrants: the fulfillment of their American dream…the stories featured in this book definitely constitute food for thought for those individuals with the power to remedy these courageous students’ predicaments."
"This fascinating look at the next generation of undocumented immigrants unpacks the complexities of the debate and puts unforgettable human faces to its subjects. Perez, a developmental psychologist and professor in Southern California, plumbs the stories of students living with the constant threat of deportation for an answer to the question, “What does it mean to be an American?” Raised in this country by parents who gained access illegally, the 16 high school, college and post-graduate students profiled here (standing in for 65,000 nationwide) have each embraced our language, culture and collective dream, but are denied pathways to success...Vitally, he argues, undocumented students are prevented from giving back to the communities that have raised them, thus limiting the country itself. No matter what one's position is on legalizing immigrants, this collection of inspiring, heartbreaking stories puts a number of unforgettable faces to the issue, making it impossible to defend any one side in easy terms or generalities."
- Publishers Weekly, Starred Web Pick of the Week
“The stories of the undocumented students in this book represent the talented members of society that could potentially be lost if we don’t act soon; and force us to rethink our current immigration policies to be more inclusive and welcoming.”
- Dolores Huerta, Dolores Huerta Foundation, Co-founder of United Farm Workers
“In the process of describing the lives of undocumented students in the United States who aspire to live the American dream of working hard and going to college, Perez makes the powerful case that our current caste system for persons living without legal status undermines core egalitarian American ideals and violates the essence of our constitution which brings all persons under its mantle."
- María Blanco, Executive Director, Chief Justice Earl Warren Institute on Race, Ethnicity and Diversity
"We ARE Americans begins by placing undocumented people at the center of the story and in a much-needed historical and contemporary context. Professor Perez provides the evidence to challenge the notion that undocumented people are drain on social services and makes the argument that they have contributed, and continue to contribute, significantly to our nation’s economic and social well-being. Starting with Penelope, a highly motivated and tenacious high school senior and ending with Nicole, a newly minted Ph.D., Professor Perez has crafted 20 compelling portraits of resilience and survival in a social and educational world that continuously places barriers in the path of these gifted and talented scholars."
- From the Foreword by Daniel Solorzano, UCLA Professor of Social Sciences and Comparative Education
“The voices we hear through the pages of William Perez’s book are powerful and compelling; student voices that need to be at the center of our discussions on immigration and, more specifically, on the DREAM Act. We ARE Americans reinforces that education is the surest route to empowerment, and the need for all of us to be working together to ensure that students with so much talent and determination are given the opportunity to contribute fully to this country.”
- James Montoya, Vice President, The College Board
"Professor Perez paints a portrait of undocumented students that is as inspiring as it is tragic. We ARE Americans emphasizes the need to rethink current immigration policies to be more inclusive and welcome immigrants as equal citizens who contribute to making America great.”
- California State Senator Gilbert Cedillo (D-Los Angeles), author of the CA Dream Act
“This book should encourage us to pass new legislation, like the DREAM Act, that would help not just these young people, but our entire nation."
- Fellowship Magazine
"In-depth description and numerous quotes from Perez's interviews make this book a useful resource for students and scholars of immigration and education, as well as for general readers looking for first-person stories of immigration."
- Library Journal
“Perez illustrates the extraordinary accomplishments of 20 young people and amplifies the under examined contributions of undocumented students. The voices in We ARE Americans are powerful and compelling and the author does an excellent job capturing the nuances of a “silenced struggle.”
-Interactions, UCLA Journal of Education and Information Studies
“Rousing and convincing call to action on behalf of undocumented students who struggle to obtain access to higher education.”
“Perez (Claremont Graduate Univ.) records case histories from interviews with undocumented students, who continue to live a precarious future in a country that does not welcome them...Perez concludes his introduction with rationales for an immigration policy that is in the national self-interest. Summing Up: Recommended. All readership levels.”
"Pérez stresses that passage of the DREAM Act would grant undocumented students equal access to scholarships and other forms of financial aid. In defense of those brought here by their parents, he says, "It's time to do the right thing.'"
-The Hispanic Outook in Higher Education Magazine
“William Perez makes palpable the critical challenges facing America’s undocumented youth. Focusing primarily on Mexican immigrants (many of whom learned of their legal status as late as high school), the book gives voice to students’ experiences of deep uncertainty and personal triumph as they pursue higher education.”
-Diversity & Democracy
“Overall, Perez’s groundbreaking book paves the way for more research in the area of undocumented immigration. We ARE Americans serves as the perfect introductory text to the topic of undocumented immigrant youth, because of its clarity and narrative structure. In addition, it demonstrates the ways in which we, as academics, can speak to and make a difference in the communities we study.”
-Latino Studies Journal