Underground America

Narratives of Undocumented Lives
Edited by Peter Orner
Foreword by Luis Alberto Urrea

Underground America
They arrive from around the world for countless reasons. Many come simply to make a living. Others are fleeing persecution in their native countries. Millions of immigrants risk deportation and imprisonment by living in the U.S. without legal status. They are living underground, with little protection from exploitation at the hands of human smugglers, employers, or law enforcement. Underground America, the third book in the Voice of Witness series, presents the remarkable oral histories of men and women struggling to carve a life for themselves in the U.S.
Among them are:

FARID, an Iranian-American business owner who employs a number of American citizens while he himself remains undocumented. A critic of the Iranian government, he fears for his safety if he is deported back to his native country.

DIANA, who, along with thousands of other Latino workers, helped rebuild the Gulf Coast after Hurricane Katrina. After completing her job, she and many others were detained and imprisoned for not having proper documentation.

LISO, a South African woman who was the victim of a bait-and-switch immigration scam. She was enticed to come to the U.S. as a religious missionary, but once here, her sponsors forced her into unpaid domestic labor.

Read an excerpt here.

Select Press & Praise for Underground America:

“Underground America” (Huffington Post, 5/13/2008)

“Breaking the Silence” (The Guardian, 6/24/2008)

“Notes From The Undocumented ‘Underground’” (NPR, 8/4/2008)


[Read the foreword by Luis Alberto Urrea]
[Read the introduction by Peter Orner]
[Buy the book from the McSweeney’s store]