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June 2, 2023
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Girls Like Us
Produced by: Helen Thorpe
Marisela and Yadira immigrated illegally to the United States as small children. Marisela, who immigrated when she was 7, remembers crossing over the border while lying in the back of a truck. Yadira, who was 3 when she crossed, remembers nothing of her entry into the U.S. Her first memories are of life in California. After their families moved to Denver, Colorado, the two young women met in middle school. Both went on to become star students in high school – AP classes, top ten percent of their class – and recruiters from Colorado colleges were telling them that they would bend over backwards to snag students like them. But of course they had a big problem, which they were afraid to share: They didn’t have Social Security numbers. This meant that they didn't qualify for any federal aid, or for most private scholarships. “Girls Like Us” is the story of two young girls trying to get into college in a country where they are undocumented.

Program Credits

Girls like us was produced by Helen Thorpe. Thanks to Ed Trudeau and Mark Coulter at Colorado Public Radio, and also to Sam Fuqua (FYOO-kwuh) at KGNU for technical assistance. We have this update – the girls are enjoying a typical college experience, and, after a brief falling out, again became friends. They’re making good grades, and they helped to start a Latino sorority on campus. They also, though, have their atypical experiences – Yadiera’s mother was arrested for working under someone else’s name, and social security number. She feared jail time, so she fled the country, and she’s since asked Yadiera to spend less time on her studies, and to get a job to help support her siblings.


Center for Immigration Studies
"The Center for Immigration Studies is an independent, non-partisan, non-profit research organization founded in 1985. It is the nation's only think tank devoted exclusively to research and policy analysis of the economic, social, demographic, fiscal, and other impacts of immigration on the United States."

by: Estela Portillo Portillo Trambley, Helena Maria Viramontes, Debra A. Castillo, Debra A. Castillo (Afterword), Helena Maria Viramontes (Foreword by) 2005
One girl's journey across the Mexican border into the United States in a quest for a better life.

Latino Immigrant Youth
by: Timothy Ready 1991
A study of young latino immigrants in Washington D.C from war-torn Central America in 1980 and 1982. Examining their rise out of poverty upon their arrival including their experiences with education and employment.

My Sisters' Voices
by: Iris Jacob 2002
My Sisters' Voices is a passionate and poignant collection of writings from teenage girls of African American, Hispanic, Asian American, Native American, and biracial backgrounds. With candor and grace, they speak out on topics that are relevant not only to themselves and their peers but to anyone who is raising, teaching, or nurturing young women of color

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Programs by Helen Thorpe

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