Illegally Yours: A Memoir

Illegally Yours: A Memoir

by Rafael Agustin
Illegally Yours: A Memoir

Illegally Yours: A Memoir

by Rafael Agustin


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Now in paperback, a funny and poignant memoir about how as a teenager, TV writer Rafael Agustin (Jane The Virgin) accidentally discovered he was undocumented and how that revelation turned everything he thought he knew about himself and his family upside down.

Growing up, Rafa’s parents didn't want him to feel different because, as his mom told him: "Dreams should not have borders." But when he tried to get his driver's license during his junior year of high school, his parents were forced to reveal his immigration status. Suddenly, the kid who modeled his entire high school career after American TV shows had no idea what to do — there was no episode of Saved by the Bell where Zack gets deported! While his parents were relieved to no longer live a lie in front of their son, Rafa found himself completely unraveling in the face of his uncertain future.
Illegally Yours is a heartwarming, comical look at how this struggling Ecuadorian immigrant family bonded together to navigate Rafa's school life, his parents' work lives, and their shared secret life as undocumented Americans, determined to make the best of their always turbulent and sometimes dangerous American existence. From using the Ricky Martin/Jennifer Lopez “Latin Explosion” to his social advantage in the ‘90s to how his parents—doctors in their home country of Ecuador—were reduced to working menial jobs in the US, the family's secret became their struggle, and their struggle became their hustle. An alternatingly hilarious and touching exploration of belonging and identity, Illegally Yours revolves around one very simple question: What does it mean to be American?

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781538705957
Publisher: Grand Central Publishing
Publication date: 07/11/2023
Pages: 304
Sales rank: 278,607
Product dimensions: 5.40(w) x 8.10(h) x 0.90(d)

About the Author

Rafael Agustin was a writer on the award-winning The CW show, Jane The Virgin, and is a past Sundance Institute Episodic Fellow. 
Agustin currently serves as CEO of the Latino Film Institute, where he oversees the Youth Cinema Project, the Los Angeles Latino International Film Festival (LALIFF), and LatinX in Animation. In 2018, LA Weekly named Agustin one of the fifty most essential people in Los Angeles. Also in 2018, the United Nations invited Agustin to speak at their 70th Anniversary Celebration of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. In 2022, the LA Times declared Agustin a “Power Player” in their inaugural LA Vanguardia class.  
Agustin is a Board Member of Mother Jones, the oldest nonprofit investigative newsroom in the United States, and of the National Film Preservation Board at the Library of Congress. 
Agustin received his AA from Mt. San Antonio College, which awarded him Alumnus of the Year in 2015, and his BA and MA from UCLA’s School of Theater, Film & Television.

Table of Contents

Prologue 1

American Ninja 5

Field of Dreams 33

Doctors with Borders 45

Oliver Stone's Office 55

Don't Speak Spanish 63

Alien Life Form 75

April 29, 1992 87

Nuthin' but a G Thang 95

A Dog Named Monsieur 103

Under the Table 109

Becoming Zack Morris 123

The Big News 135

Rolling Papers 141

The American Revolution 147

The Illegal Presidency 153

Campus Ministry 159

Free Rafa 167

Machismo Facade 177

Stuck in Tijuana 189

Ma and Pa Kent 197

How to Disappoint Your Immigrant Parents without Trying 209

Affirmative Action Cookie Sale 223

The Old Man and the Parking Lot 235

The Deported 245

The Comedy with the Name Nobody Wants to Say 253

Guy in Kentucky 263

Tom Bradley International 269

George Washington's Right-Hand Man 273

Epilogue 279

Acknowledgments 285

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