Last Updated September 5, 2023.
As the protagonist and narrator, Diane is a complex character. She is an American citizen by birth, whereas the rest of her family is undocumented. As a child, she frequently turns to God to keep her family together. However, she also feels compelled to punish herself whenever she does something wrong, for fear that if she doesn’t, God will deliver a much worse punishment. Her parents being deported leaves Diane desperate to earn her keep in the homes of her friends until college, where she eventually decides to pursue her dream and study performing arts. After battling self-harm and depression, Diane works her way up in the world of acting and achieves success on the show Orange is the New Black. Motivated by her own experiences, she also becomes an advocate for undocumented immigrants. Overall, Diane is strong and motivated and has managed to overcome incredible amounts of adversity in many aspects of her life.
Maria Guerrero ("Mami")
Due to her anxiety about her family’s situation, Maria Guerrero becomes impatient to get her papers and takes a chance that results in her being deported. She is able to return, but after being deported once more, she resorts to doing everything she can to stay in contact with Diane, who is conflicted and angry with her for having to leave. Maria works hard, highly values her daughter, and wants to remain a part of Diane's life.
Hector Guerrero ("Papi")
Papi is also extremely hard-working, but he still makes time for Diane. Diane is very close to her father as a child, and he is the one to make arrangements for her to stay with a friend after he and Mami are deported. After returning to Colombia, he and Mami split up.
Eric is resentful toward Papi because he isn’t Eric’s biological father. Eric frequently stays out late and gets into trouble, but he cleans up his act for a while after his girlfriend, Gloria, gives birth to their daughter, Erica. Unfortunately, this change doesn’t last, and he loses them both. Without their support, he is deported to Colombia.