The Death and Life of Aida Hernandez by Aaron Bobrow-Strain“The American dream has always been conditional for this country’s marginalized peoples. For young, undocumented Mexican mother Aida Hernandez (not her real name, for reasons of protective anonymity), the U.S. immigration system exposed the cruelties and complexities of what it really means to be free.

Aida was born and raised in Agua Prieta, Mexico. After her mother endured years of physical abuse, she left her husband, Aida’s father, and set out for the border town of Douglas, Arizona, with 9-year-old Aida and her two other daughters in tow. But Aida’s mother’s next partner echoed the patterns of abuse. As Aida grew up, the turbulent and unpredictable nature of her mother’s relationships added to the micro and macro challenges that accompanied living as an undocumented citizen. As a result, Aida’s inner world reflected the chaos of her unstable adolescence.

While Aida’s story is not meant to serve as the sole representation of life as an undocumented immigrant, it’s a sharp portrait of a country where equality is designed only for those deemed worthy.”

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