In Dreams and Nightmares by Liliana Velásquez, how does the testimony of Liliana challenge the stereotypes of undocumented, unaccompanied minors?

In Dreams and Nightmares by Liliana Velásquez, the testimony of Liliana challenges the stereotypes of undocumented, unaccompanied minors by showing her to be determined and tenacious.

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To answer this question, we first need to establish what the stereotypes around undocumented, unaccompanied minors are. If we were looking at stereotypes of adults from countries like Guatemala, where our protagonist comes from, they would include assumptions of criminality, a lack of hygiene, and desire to take jobs from Americans. Stereotypes of children from these places include assumptions of poverty, fearfulness, histories of being abused, and dirtiness.

While Liliana Velásquez fits into certain stereotypes based on the fact that she fled poverty and violence in her home country and experienced extreme hardship in reaching the US, I would argue that it is her determination and tenacity that challenges the stereotypes. While every migrant has a tale of courage to tell, Liliana has challenged these stereotypes by speaking out and going public with her story.

Liliana challenges and breaks a number of harmful stereotypes by proving that her voice and her story have power. They were powerful when she was caught by police outside Mexico City, they were powerful in justifying her claim to a Green Card, and they are powerful in reclaiming a voice for the marginalized people who arrive at our borders hoping for a better life.

In addition, she breaks through the stereotype of fear. In making the decision to come to the US alone, at the age of fourteen, she shows that she is fearless and determined to make a success of her life.

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