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Reviewed by Joe Wisinski for Readers' Favorite
Illegal: One Immigrant’s Life Or Death Journey To The American Dream by Laz Ayala tells the story of Ayala coming to the United States from El Salvador in 1980 as an illegal alien. He was 14 years old, afraid, and unsure of what was ahead of him, or even if he would survive. In great detail, Ayala explains the horrific conditions he left in El Salvador, including widespread poverty and a civil war that killed tens of thousands of civilians. He says those conditions justify his father’s decision to leave the country and negate the concept of migrants being a criminal element. Ayala made it to his sister’s home in California and today is a naturalized citizen of the U.S., a business owner, and financially successful.
The immigration debate is a heated one, but anyone who reads Laz Ayala’s book with an open mind might be swayed by his spirited denunciation of the current immigration system in the U.S. and his call for reform. As Ayala points out, undocumented immigrants not only pay taxes but get far fewer benefits in return than the amount they pay. They also work jobs that many native-born residents might not want to do. It’s easy to agree with Ayala that they give more to the country than they receive. And it’s impossible to disagree with Ayala’s statement that the U.S. is a nation of immigrants. If you’re unsure about your stand on immigration, you might change your mind after reading Illegal: One Immigrant’s Life Or Death Journey To The American Dream. The same goes if you struggle with the concept of people leaving their home countries to come to the U.S., but can commit to seeing both sides of the issue.