Amidst the frenetic world news cycle, even extraordinary and devastating events from not long ago can seem, with disturbing speed, like ancient history. My Boy Will Die of Sorrow by Efrén C. Olivares chronicles the traumas of the U.S. government's 2018 policy of family separation, inflicted upon more than 5,000 families at the U.S.-Mexico border. Olivares writes with the authority of an experienced immigration lawyer and immigrants' rights advocate, conveying the testimonies of parents, children and other loved ones whose lives and relationships were ripped apart by a militarized anti-immigration policy for which cruelty was the point. He wades through reams of bureaucratic obfuscation and other insidious forms of misinformation and tells true stories in all their shocking and personal details.
Into these first- and second-hand accounts of the family separation policy, Olivares braids, in memoir fashion, his experiences as a boy born in Northern Mexico whose own family came to the U.S. in search of greater economic opportunity. He also presents a compelling, detailed summary of the history of U.S. immigration law and the gradually warming pot that brought the border, once largely open, to today's boiling point.
With well-sourced, scholarly research told in an absorbing prose and with compelling human narratives at its heart, My Boy Will Die of Sorrow is an informative and gut-wrenching indictment of the state of the U.S. immigration policy. This vital resource and collection of testimonies can serve to keep the recent horrors it depicts from disappearing into the past. --Walker Minot, freelance writer and editor