(Nin Solis and Jill Anderson)
In a political climate that has seen immigration reform rise to the forefront as a legislative priority, so-called Dreamers — youths that were brought to the United States as children — have often been identified as the most sympathetic of figures. Brought to the country through no fault of their own, they are often designated as the most deserving of having their status legalized.
In June 2012, President Barack Obama issued a direct order called Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), but for many it was too little, too late.
American academic Jill Anderson and Mexican photographer Nin Solis set out to tell the story of a group that is often forgotten — the Dreamers who weren’t saved in time, and find themselves back in Mexico, a country they have little to no connection to.
2. The book Los Otros Dreamers, the other Dreamers, was born out of Anderson’s university work in Mexico, she tells BuzzFeed.
“I am doing a postdoctoral research project at the Center for North American Studies at UNAM [National Autonomous University of Mexico] in Mexico City. My research is based on interviews with returning youth who are working in call centers in Mexico City. I soon realized that there stories were too important and powerful to just sit on my laptop and so I talked to several of the otros Dreamers and to Nin about the possibility of doing a book with their words and her images and the project grew from there,” Anderson says.
3. Anderson says Kickstarter made sense because they wanted to “create a book by creating a community.” The $30,000 goal was met with 75 minutes left in the campaign on Sunday.
Anderson talked about what it felt like to get full funding immediately after the project crossed the threshold.
“I am so moved by this last push when so many people started donating $1 and $5 and $20 to make sure that the project happens,” she said. “I am so moved by the many new friends in the struggle for immigrant rights as human rights that we have made because of the Kickstarter effort.”
4. The book will include 20 stories, like the story of Moisés.
5. Everything changed in high school for him.
“My teachers said, ‘You can do it. You are going to be a great dentist.’ I was going to graduate on December 2011 with a biology degree when the Army stopped my car at a checkpoint on the Florida-Georgia state border. I was in the Broward Detention Center for three months before they sent me back to Mexico.”
6. The book will also tell Maria’s story from New York to Mexico City.
7. Hector’s story from Los Angeles to Guadalajara.
8. And Pedro, from L.A. to Mexico City.
9. Anderson says the stories are snapshots of young people, who are in many ways, forgotten by two different cultures:
Many deported and returning young people feel totally isolated, but when they meet someone else who has come through that experience it makes such a difference for them. So, the Kickstarter allowed us to connect with more youth who want to participate in the book, and it allowed us to start doing what the book will do on a larger scale: hold up to the light their stories of being from both the U.S. and Mexico and saying loud and clear that they belong in both.