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The story of Julissa Arce: What does an undocumented immigrant look like? What price must she pay to remain in the United States?

The story of Julissa Arce: What does an undocumented immigrant look like? What price must she pay to remain in the United States?


Arce shows us the true cost of achieving her American dream—from the perspective of a woman who had to scale unseen and unimaginable walls to get there—in new memoir this fall.

 “There are so many moments in Julissa’s journey that numbed my body and transported me fully into her harrowing experience. Her story broke my heart and then made it jump for joy.” –America Ferrera, actor, producer


My (Underground) American Dream: My True Story as an Undocumented Immigrant Who Became a Wall Street Executive tells a gripping story set in the heady days of the most astronomical stock-market rise in Wall Street history—when Julissa Arce, a rare Hispanic woman in a sea of suits and ties, landed one of the most coveted jobs as an analyst at Goldman Sachs. She continued to climb the corporate ladder—riding a series of promotions to become a Vice President, complete with a six-figure salary. But Arce wasn’t just a young woman breaking through ceilings in a cutthroat male-dominated field. She was also an undocumented immigrant from Mexico, who lived in the shadows after discovering the shocking truth of her immigration status when she was fourteen years old.


The level of professional and financial success that Arce achieved was the very definition of the American dream. But in this brave new memoir, Arce digs deep to reveal the physical, financial, and emotional costs of the stunning secret that she, like many other high-achieving, successful individuals in the United States, had been forced to keep not only from her bosses, but even from her closest friends.  In this surprising, at times heart-wrenching, but always inspirational personal story of struggle, grief, and ultimate redemption, Arce takes readers deep into the little-understood world of undocumented immigrants in the United States today—people who live next door, sit in your classrooms, work in the same office, and may very well be your boss. By opening up about the story of her successes, her heartbreaks, and her long-fought journey to emerge from the shadows and become a citizen, Arce shows us the true cost of achieving the American dream.


Today, Arce uses her success and platform to help shift the conversation around immigration. Arce’s lecture circuit has taken her to Tedx and the Forbes Reinventing America Summit (alongside Nancy Pelosi, Jessica Alba, and Gayle King). She is featured in HBO’s documentary, Habla y Vota, and her book is optioned for development as a television series by America Ferrera’s Take Fountain Productions.


During a pivotal election cycle where immigrants seeking refuge are at America’s doorstep, Arce’s personal story of sacrifice, pain and suffering challenges our perceptions of what it means to be American, while echoing the stories of millions living here without a voice. Releasing in time for National Hispanic American Heritage Month, My (Underground) American Dream reveals why we should be building bridges between nations instead of cultivating political discussions about wall building. Julissa’s harrowing story provides a personal narrative that tears down those walls and allows us to see the immigration debate from a human perspective.


JULISSA ARCE is a writer, speaker, and social justice advocate. She is the Co-founder and Chairman of the Ascend Educational Fund, a college scholarship and mentorship program for immigrant students, regardless of their immigration status, ethnicity or national origin. Julissa is also a board member for the National Immigration Law Center and College Spring. She is the former Director of Public Affairs at Define American, a media organization that uses the power of story to change culture around immigration and citizenship. Prior to becoming an advocate, she built a successful career on Wall Street working at Goldman Sachs and Merrill Lynch and had seemingly achieved the American Dream, and yet she was not part of what defined America. She will vote for the first time in the 2016 election.  As a CNBC contributor, Arce writes op/eds regularly, and she has appeared on CNN, MSNBC, NPR, Telemundo, Bloomberg TV and Univision. Visit her at



·         Election tie-ins:

o    Arce is an official partner with Voto Latino during Hispanic Heritage Month of Action – calling for all people, and specifically Latinos, to register to vote. They will heavily promote on social media.

o    Arce spoke at the Hispanic Caucus Meeting at the DNC this July as a vetted surrogate.

o    Arce won’t hold back re: Trump’s discriminatory platform: “The talents and hard work of immigrants of every background have made America great since the founding of our nation. To suggest a ban on any group of people based on their religion, ethnicity or national origin is anti-American.”

·         Author featured in documentaries this fall:

o    Part of HBO Latino’s Habla series, Habla y Vota is a one-hour, non-partisan program in English and Spanish encouraging Latinos to vote by presenting personal narratives from leading Hispanic celebrities and inspiring personalities, including Julissa Arce, George Lopez, Adrienne Bailon, Prince Royce, Maria Celeste Arraras and Jorge Ramos.

o    Roadtrip Nation – a PBS documentary backed by the Emerson Collective (Laurene Powell Jobs’ organization) airing this fall, in which young undocumented students interview other undocumented/formerly undocumented people like Arce, Diane Guerrero, Jose Antonio Vargas, etc.

o     Beyond Borders documentary with Mexican historian Enrique Krauze.

o    LA Times + Fusion video series about young people in the U.S. who are “Making America Great,” fighting the notion that minorities are leeching off society.

·         Awards:

o    Recipient of The Vanguard Award, given by the National Association of Hispanic Real Estate Professionals (NAHREP). Past recipients include Julian Castro (secretary of housing/urban development).

o    Recipient of the 2016 Inspira Award from Hispanic Heritage Foundation.

o    Nominated for Hispanic Heritage Awards this September.

·         Book tour includes New York, DC, Texas, Los Angeles (Tedx talk, Latinos de Hoy Awards, Texas Book Fest, etc.).


AUTHOR AVAILABLE FOR OP/EDS & NEWS TIE-INS: Immigration, Election/Candidates, Politics, Business,

Human Rights, Minorities, Women’s Issues, Success, Personal Faith. Media review copies, hi-res images, interviews

and excerpts available upon request by contacting (917 656 7846)

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