Latino USA Presents: Shrimp Who Falls Asleep

Nov 5, 2019
3:02 PM
Originally published at Latino USA

Illustration by Alexander Charner.

Writer Y.B., who we are identifying by her initials for the safety of her family, immigrated from Morelos, Mexico, to New York City with her family over two decades ago. Since then, they’ve been living in Queens as undocumented immigrants. While Y.B. eventually was able to become a DACA recipient in 2012. Her mother and uncle are still undocumented.

She has since moved out, gone to college and become a writer. But as she’s drifted away and created her own independent life, Y.B. has started to become increasingly worried about how little her family has changed. Her uncle, the main breadwinner in the family, still earns less than minimum wage and often works past midnight. Her mother has never learned to speak English fluently nor has she finished her education. Y.B. and her younger sister are both concerned about the future of their family as they age, in a country where being undocumented immigrants means working without healthcare or a retirement plan.

In this intimate story, Y.B. decides to confront her relatives about their lack of progress in this country. And she tries to understand her family’s contrasting perspectives on how to make decisions as an immigrant in the United States and try to stay afloat, especially when that means living with uncertainty on a daily basis for 23 years.


NPR’s Latino USA with Maria Hinojosa, produced by Futuro Media, is the longest-running Latino-focused program on U.S. public media.