Alienhood is an exploration of democracy through the eyes of an undocumented immigrant.

Alienhood combines personal essays, historical archives, and reported criticism to help the general public understand how the current state of undocumented immigrants in America is not an aberration, but the product of centuries of unchallenged state power. Occasionally, it also provides commentary on law and politics as well as interviews with writers, journalists, or other undocumented immigrants on how they have crafted their own vision of success in a world obsessed with their paper selves and bent on removing those deemed unfit to share in the social contract. Alienhood is edited by Meg Pillow.

Above all, this newsletter is a meditation on Toni Morrison’s words: “I stood at the border, stood at the edge, and claimed it as central.”

What readers are saying

About me

I’m a writer and lawyer. I have written in lots of different places, including Politico Magazine, The Atlantic, Vox, The Hill, and the Brennan Center for Justice. I’m a staff writer at Politico Magazine, where I published the magazine’s first article in Spanish and have reported on everything from the migrant caravan’s democracy, to Kamala Harris’ law school years, to a new push for reparations for Japanese Latinos. I went to law school to better understand the doctrines that have long kept undocumented people, and other communities, in a state of constitutional abandonment; now, as I near the end, it’s become clear to me that writing and law cannot exist detached from one another.

This year, I am one of three members of the inaugural cohort of the Joel Gay Creative Fellowship, a program started by Roxane Gay to honor her late brother. I am also a fellow of the Periplus Collective, a mentorship program for writers of color. I don’t know how I ended up being a writer, but I do know that going to public high school in Orlando, Florida, had something to do with it.

Originally from Maracaibo, Venezuela, I live in Washington, D.C., with my partner and our dog, Pilot Jones. You can find me on Twitter @jesusrodriguezb, and I also have a website.

Subscribe to Alienhood

An undocumented immigrant builds a kind of life.


Immigrant, writer, lawyer. My work has appeared in The Atlantic, Politico Magazine, Vox, and elsewhere. Recipient of the 2022 Joel Gay Creative Fellowship.