Skip to main content


Undocumented: Conversation with Dan-el Padilla Peralta

General Programming

dateNovember 12, 2015 timeThursday, 6:15pm EST location The Heyman Center, Second Floor Common Room, Columbia University
  • Center for the Study of Ethnicity and Race
Cover of Undocumented by Dan-el Padilla Peralta

“An undocumented immigrant’s journey from a New York City homeless shelter to the top of his Princeton class”—Penguin Press.

In the summer of 2015, Dan-el Padilla Peralta, a current postdoctoral fellow in the Columbia Society of Fellows in the Humanities, published his memoir, Undocumented: A Dominican Boy’s Odyssey from a Homeless Shelter to the Ivy League. Growing up as an undocumented immigrant, Peralta spent some of his childhood at a New York City homeless shelter. And yet he ultimately thrived at the nation’s top schools, graduating from Princeton and receiving a doctorate in Classics from Stanford. While Peralta’s story is admittedly an exception rather than a norm, it provides us with important insights into some of the issues of critical significance in contemporary America, such as immigration, education, and social mobility.

In this event, Dan-el Padilla Peralta discusses his memoir and experiences with three distinguished scholars of American immigration. General Q&A will follow a panel discussion by the four scholars.

For the press coverage of Peralta and his book, visit here.

Sponsored by the Society of Fellows in the Humanities and the Center for the Study of Ethnicity and Race, Columbia University.

  • Dan-el Padilla Peralta Assistant Professor of Classics Princeton University
  • Hidetaka Hirota Institute for Advanced Study Waseda University
  • Philip Kasinitz Presidential Professor of Sociology Graduate Center and Hunter College of the City University of New York
  • Mae M. Ngai Professor of History and Lung Family Professor of Asian American Studies Columbia University
  • Marta Tienda Maurice P. During ’22 Professor of Demographic Studies and Professor of Sociology and Public Affairs Princeton University