Cover image for My (underground) American dream : my true story as an undocumented immigrant who became a Wall Street executive
My (underground) American dream : my true story as an undocumented immigrant who became a Wall Street executive
Arce, Julissa, author.
Personal Author:
First edition.
Publication Information:
New York, NY : Center Street, Hachette Book Group, 2016.

Physical Description:
viii, 296 pages, 8 unnumbered pages of plates : color illustrations ; 24 cm
"For an undocumented immigrant, what is the true cost of the American dream? Julissa Arce shares her story in a riveting memoir. When she was 11 years old Julissa Arce left Mexico and came to the United States on a tourist visa to be reunited with her parents, who dreamed the journey would secure her a better life. When her visa expired at the age of 15, she became an undocumented immigrant. Thus began her underground existence, a decades long game of cat and mouse, tremendous family sacrifice, and fear of exposure. After the Texas Dream Act made a college degree possible, Julissa's top grades and leadership positions landed her an internship at Goldman Sachs, which led to a full time position--one of the most coveted jobs on Wall Street. Soon she was a vice president, a rare Hispanic woman in a sea of suits and ties, yet still guarding her 'underground' secret. In telling her personal story of separation, grief, and ultimate redemption, Arce shifts the immigrant conversation, and changes the perception of what it means to be an undocumented immigrant"--
Prologue: The attack -- pt. I. "Undocumented" -- Home alone -- The last drop -- Strangers -- Strangers no more -- You're an illegal now -- Decisions, decisions -- The accident -- The wall -- pt. II. The road to the street -- Opportunity -- Normal-ish -- Walking papers -- Race to the offer -- The offer -- Big time -- Setting sail -- Seasons of change -- Concrete jungle -- The call -- pt. III. Redeemed -- The proposal -- Going home -- Happy -- When it rains, it pours -- The end -- The odyssey -- Out of the darkness -- Connecting the dots -- Redeemed -- Postscript.
Personal Subject:
Added Author:
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
E184.M5 A73 2016 Adult Non-Fiction Non-Fiction Area
E184.M5 A73 2016 Adult Non-Fiction Biography
E184.M5 A73 2016 Adult Non-Fiction Open Shelf
E184.M5 A73 2016 Adult Non-Fiction Open Shelf

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A National Bestseller!

What does an undocumented immigrant look like? What kind of family must she come from? How could she get into this country? What is the true price she must pay to remain in the United States?

JULISSA ARCE knows firsthand that the most common, preconceived answers to those questions are sometimes far too simple-and often just plain wrong.

On the surface, Arce's story reads like a how-to manual for achieving the American dream: growing up in an apartment on the outskirts of San Antonio, she worked tirelessly, achieved academic excellence, and landed a coveted job on Wall Street, complete with a six-figure salary. The level of professional and financial success that she achieved was the very definition of the American dream. But in this brave new memoir, Arce digs deep to reveal the physical, financial, and emotional costs of the stunning secret that she, like many other high-achieving, successful individuals in the United States, had been forced to keep not only from her bosses, but even from her closest friends.

From the time she was brought to this country by her hardworking parents as a child, Arce-the scholarship winner, the honors college graduate, the young woman who climbed the ladder to become a vice president at Goldman Sachs-had secretly lived as an undocumented immigrant. In this surprising, at times heart-wrenching, but always inspirational personal story of struggle, grief, and ultimate redemption, Arce takes readers deep into the little-understood world of a generation of undocumented immigrants in the United States today- people who live next door, sit in your classrooms, work in the same office, and may very well be your boss. By opening up about the story of her successes, her heartbreaks, and her long-fought journey to emerge from the shadows and become an American citizen, Arce shows us the true cost of achieving the American dream-from the perspective of a woman who had to scale unseen and unimaginable walls to get there.

Author Notes

JULISSA ARCE is a writer, speaker, and social-justice advocate. She is the cofounder and chairman of the Ascend Educational Fund, a college scholarship and mentorship program that assists immigrant students, regardless of their immigration status, ethnicity, or national origin. Julissa is also a board member for the National Immigration Law Center and for College Spring. Prior to becoming an advocate, she built a successful career on Wall Street, working at Goldman Sachs and Merrill Lynch.

Reviews 1

Booklist Review

Arce's parents lived and worked primarily in San Antonio, Texas, while their children and extended family remained in their hometown of Taxco, Mexico. Arce was a bright, outgoing child with plenty of confidence when, at age 11, she tried to win the heart of a cute boy with an old Playboy magazine. Soon after, she used a tourist instead of a student visa to enter the States and rejoin her parents, thus beginning her precarious existence as an undocumented immigrant. Arce managed to become a vice president at Goldman Sachs, a rare Latina executive. Now, by sharing the struggles she's faced, Arce provides readers with a relatable story that distills the overwhelming and complex social and political issues currently swirling around immigration. Written in an engaging, easy-to-read style and with impressive honesty regarding such difficult-to-reveal secrets as her father's alcoholism and how exactly she managed to live illegally in the U.S., Arce's memoir offers an invaluably personal perspective that will spark much-needed conversations on a variety of urgent and volatile topics.--Hayman, Stacey Copyright 2016 Booklist

Table of Contents

Prologue The Attackp. 1
Part I "Undocumented"p. 7
1 Home Alonep. 9
2 The Last Dropp. 21
3 Strangersp. 29
4 Strangers No Morep. 40
5 You're an Illegal Nowp. 51
6 Decisions, Decisionsp. 65
7 The Accidentp. 80
8 The Wallp. 92
Part II The Road to the Streetp. 99
9 Opportunityp. 101
10 Normal-ishp. 110
11 Walking Papersp. 123
12 Race to the Offerp. 137
13 The Offerp. 151
14 Big Timep. 161
15 Setting Sailp. 172
16 Seasons of Changep. 188
17 Concrete Junglep. 198
18 The Callp. 208
Part III Redeemedp. 217
19 The Proposalp. 219
20 Going Homep. 230
21 Happyp. 239
22 When It Rains, It Poursp. 245
23 The Endp. 251
24 The Odysseyp. 259
25 Out of the Darknessp. 265
26 Connecting the Dotsp. 271
27 Redeemedp. 280
Postscriptp. 290
Acknowledgmentsp. 292
Resourcesp. 294