Once I Was You: A Memoir of Love and Hate in a Torn America

Maria Hinojosa. Atria, $28 (352p) ISBN 978-1-982128-65-4
Veteran broadcast journalist Hinojosa discusses immigration in a defiant memoir that probes family lore, public policy, and mainstream media bias. In 1962, when Hinojosa was a baby, her family emigrated from Mexico to Chicago when her father was invited to join the faculty at the University of Chicago, but an immigration agent, misinterpreting her minor skin rash as a disease, tried to separate her from her family. Annual visits to Mexico maintained her dual Mexican-American identity, but reentry to the U.S. was dependent on a green card and emphasized how “people were and are still looking at us—immigrants—as aliens.” As a student at Barnard College, she hosted a Latin radio show and earned an internship at NPR. Hired by “the one other Latino at the network,” she helped launch Weekend Edition Saturday. In 1986, while covering the Texas sesquicentennial, she visited Harlingen, “the first immigrant detention camp I ever saw” and the nation’s largest. Horrific conditions spurred her ongoing investigations which continue today. She discusses the history of immigration under presidents Clinton (while “Bill Clinton was being celebrated for eating burritos and enchiladas, the new president was also cracking down on immigration”) and Obama (“In 2014, under President Barack Obama, ‘removals’ clocked in at 414,481”), details the passage of immigration legislation, and highlights the high cost of detention (“$3 billion for the 2018 fiscal year”). The result is a powerful memoir that doubles as an essential immigration primer. (Sept.)
Reviewed on : 05/26/2020
Release date: 09/15/2020
Genre: Nonfiction
Paperback - 320 pages - 978-1-9821-3520-1
Book - 978-1-9821-2867-8
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