Aaron Bobrow-Strain-The Death and Life of Aida Hernandez: A Border Story

Aaron Bobrow-Strain

Bio

Aaron Bobrow-Strain is a professor of politics at Whitman College, where he teaches courses dealing with food, immigration, and the U.S.-Mexico border. His writing has appeared in Believer, The Chronicle of Higher Education Review, Salon, and Gastronomica. He is the author of White Bread: A Social History of the Store-Bought Loaf and Intimate Enemies: Landowners, Power, and Violence in Chiapas. In the 1990s, he worked on the U.S.-Mexico border as an activist and educator. His most recent book is THE DEATH AND LIFE OF AIDA HERNANDEZ: A Border Story, published by Farrar, Straus and Giroux in April 2019.

Sessions

The Death and Life of Aida Hernandez, PEN America Immigration Track

What happens when an undocumented teen mother takes on the U.S. immigration system? When Aida Hernandez was born in 1987 in Agua Prieta, Mexico, the nearby U.S. border was little more than a worn-down fence. Eight years later, Aida's mother took her and her siblings to live in Douglas, Arizona. By then, the border had become one of the most heavily policed sites in America. Undocumented, Aida fought to make her way. She learned English, watched Friends, and, after having a baby at sixteen, dreamed of teaching dance and moving with her son to New York City. But life had other plans. Following a misstep that led to her deportation, Aida found herself in a Mexican city marked by violence, in a country that was not hers. To get back to the United States and reunite with her son, she embarked on a harrowing journey. The daughter of a rebel hero from the mountains of Chihuahua, Aida has a genius for survival—but returning to the United States was just the beginning of her quest. Taking us into detention centers, immigration courts, and the inner lives of Aida and other daring characters, The Death and Life of Aida Hernandez reveals the human consequences of militarizing what was once a more forgiving border. With emotional force and narrative suspense, Bobrow-Strain brings us into the heart of a violently unequal America. He shows us that the heroes of our current immigration wars are less likely to be paragons of virtue than flawed human beings who deserve justice and empathy all the same.

Interviewer: Jeremy Redmon

Jeremy Redmon is an award-winning journalist with 25 years of experience reporting for newspapers in the Southeast, including the last 14 years for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. His assignments have taken him to the U.S.-Mexican border, Central America and the Middle East, and he has written extensively about war, politics, immigration and refugees.

  • Marriott Conference Center A
  • Sat 4:15-5:30p Marriott A

The Death and Life of Aida Hernandez: A Border Story

Taking us into detention centers, immigration courts, and the inner lives of Aida and other daring characters, The Death and Life of Aida Hernandez reveals the human consequences of militarizing what was once a more forgiving border. With emotional force and narrative suspense, Aaron Bobrow-Strain brings us into the heart of a violently unequal America. He also shows us that the heroes of our current immigration wars are less likely to be perfect paragons of virtue than complex, flawed human beings who deserve justice and empathy all the same.

Our website uses cookies to collect information about how you interact with our website. By using this website, you agree to let us use cookies. For more information see our Privacy Policy. Got It