Actress Diane Guerrero has made a name for herself thanks to television roles in Orange Is the New Black, Jane the Virgin and now CBS’ Superior Donuts, but in her 2016 memoir In the Country We Love: My Family Divided, she shines a light on the struggles of immigration in the United States.
Guerrero sat down with The Hollywood Reporter In Studio to discuss how her memoir came to be and where she plans to take her story next.
In her book, Guerrero writes that at the age of 14, her parents were detained and deported while she was at school. Since she was born in the U.S., she was able to remain in the country to continue her education. She says now that she was initially hesitant to put her story into book form.
“I think it was more I was still sort of ashamed of sharing that much information about myself, but also, mostly because my family,” she said. “But I spoke to my mother. She said, basically, a memoir is from your point of view, from your experience. So I think that kind of eased me a little because I knew that if I didn’t get everything right, it’s fine. It’s my book.”
She told THR that she feels lucky that her story has inspired so many other children who are going through a similar situation. “It’s just kind of giving you an example of what family separation looks like, and hopefully it’ll give some people an idea of what the immigration system looks like, which in my opinion is broken,” she said.
Guerrero’s story found its way onto her show Superior Donuts when her character’s brother was being chased by immigration, which turned into an opportunity to open up the conversation of immigration even more. “It was a very personal episode and I’m really proud of it,” she said. “I’m really glad that CBS took the initiative to talk about as sensitive a subject as immigration because it’s not easy to talk about.”
Next, the actress plans to continue to spread her story across more mediums. “Right now I’m just working on seeing how I can take my story and make it into a film,” she said. “I’m still very passionate about this story. It’s very relevant in my mind right now, so I think I’m going to keep working on that.”