Terry Greene Sterling enters the fearful ghettoes of Arizona, the gateway for nearly half of the nation's undocumented immigrants and the state that is the least welcoming toward them, to tell the stories of the men, women, and children who have crossed the border.
Terry Greene Sterling is a Spanish-speaking award-winning journalist and photographer based in Phoenix, which is ground zero for the nation's immigration wars and home to most of Arizona's five hundred thousand or more illegal immigrants. She is Writer-in-Residence and a faculty associate at the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication at Arizona State University.
She has covered all aspects of the American West, including immigration and Latino issues, for twenty-five years. She has won more than fifty national and regional journalism awards, including several awards for diversity writing. She is a three-time winner of Arizona's highest journalism honor, the Virg Hill Journalist of the Year Award, and was a staff writer at Phoenix New Times for thirteen years. Her stories have appeared in numerous newspapers and magazines, including The Washington Post, Newsweek, salon.com, The Nieman Narrative Digest, Preservation Magazine, Arizona Highways, High Country News, and PHOENIX Magazine, where she is contributing editor. She also has a Master of Fine Arts degree in Creative Nonfiction from Goucher College in Maryland, where she studied with Tom French and Walt Harrington, two master narrative journalists. She is a member of Investigative Reporters and Editors and The American Society of Journalists and Authors.
“Terry Greene Sterling puts a human face on a dishonest immigration debate. The sheriff is ugly, the laws harsh and pointless, the people poor, eager, hunted—and the people are our new neighbors regardless of our neighborhoods. Read this moving and surprising book before speaking out on who belongs here and who does not. You'll be happy you did.”
—Charles Bowden, award-winning journalist and author of Murder City: Ciudad Juarez and the Global Economy's New Killing Fields
“Immigration is the twenty-first century's Grapes of Wrath. And, like John Steinbeck, Terry Greene Sterling focuses on the people of illegal immigration—victims and perps—to show us what life is truly like on the frontlines of the immigration issue. From official neglect to rape, murder, kidnapping, and death, Sterling takes the lid off the world of illegal immigration and exposes the whole snake pit.”
—Paul Perry, New York Times bestselling author, documentary filmmaker
“What a vivid portrayal of the Arizona immigrant underground. Illegal is not afraid to show the bad decisions immigrants make along with their resilience and strength of spirit. This is the total picture, a heartbreaking one in a state that has chosen to demonize its Mexican residents.”
—Tony Ortega, Editor in Chief, The Village Voice
“No one brings you into the illegal immigration underground quite like Terry Greene Sterling. Her gritty descriptions of border crossers, transvestites, and child molesters will linger in your thoughts. Her achingly beautiful accounts of everyday people and tragic situations really stick with you. From Sheriff Joe Arpaio's bravado to a locked-up mom's longing for her child, the stories in Illegal are strikingly vivid, and the author's reporting flawless. No one should even attempt to speak on the matter of illegal immigration in Arizona without reading Illegal first.”
—Ashlea Deahl, editor of PHOENIX magazine
“Arizona is ground zero in America's immigration battles and Terry Greene Sterling writes about the struggles of the people involved with authority, passion and compassion. Her insights and observations are detailed with nuance and substance that can't be acquired by dropping in when the story is hot. This book and her blog, White Woman in the Barrio, reflect her ongoing commitment to telling stories about the people in addition to the policies that are front and center in the immigration wars. If you want to understand what is going on in Arizona now, Illegal is the book to read.”
—Rick Rodriguez, Carnegie and Southwest Borderlands Initiative professor, Walter Cronkite School of Journalism, Arizona State University