Illegal Among Us

Illegal Among Us
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  • Item #: 9781620060889

A Stateless Woman's Quest for Citizenship

Are you Martine Mwanj Kalaw? If so, your father is looking for you.

Martine is forced to make a choice in an immigration courtroom. Her decision catapults her into a tumultuous and seven-year battle with immigration and a personal struggle to discover her identity. Ten years later, at age thirty-three, a social media message reconnects Martine with the father she thought dead for twenty years. Here begins the story of a prep-school illegal immigrant’s return to her birthland of Zambia. She travels to Africa to unlock the key to her past but what she discovers is unimaginable and will never leave her the same.

A typical American college girl by all appearances, Martine’s innocent ignorance of her own immigration status erupts in a battle for US citizenship while avoiding deportation to her country of origin, the war-torn Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC). Without documentation on the African continent in either DRC or Zambia, no country claims a stateless Martine.

After seven years, six lawyers, numerous Master Calendar hearings, motions, rejections, appeals and testimony before the U.S. Congress (on behalf of The Dream Act), in 2012 Martine becomes a U.S. citizen and two years later she returns to Zambia. Only then does Martine discover a truth about her mother and father which ultimately brings her resolve and an identity. 


Martine Kalaw is a community advocate, speaker, writer, and Huffington Post blogger on her undocumented immigrant struggle in America. An incredible journey of going from an eleven-year battle as an undocumented immigrant and seven years in deportation without a family, to a senior level executive with an advanced degree, a father and U.S. citizenship is the inspiration behind the mission to share her story. Martine’s intention is to highlight the absurdity of current immigration policy that marginalizes undocumented immigrants and to demystify and challenge stereotypes about what a strong woman looks like, who the illegal immigrant is, what it means to be American and the African experience. Furthermore, she also seeks to share her universal message--regardless of our inherent differences, we are all connected by a shared human experience.

Martine Kalaw is a Senior Director of Learning & Development at a private aviation company. In her role, she oversees company-wide education initiatives, program development and individual certification that provides clients both internally and externally, with the resources and tools necessary for success. She designs customized onboarding/training solutions and ongoing professional development courses in an effort to provide a blended learning approach that will align with individual, departmental, and organizational goals.

by Martine Kalaw
Trade Paperback - 6 x 9 x .7
264 Pages
SOCIAL SCIENCE / Emigration & Immigration
TRAVEL / Special Interest / Family
BIOGRAPHY & AUTOBIOGRAPHY / Cultural, Ethnic & Regional / African American & Black 
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Price $19.95
Availability In-Stock
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