May 23, 2019  

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University Forum Series to Feature “Undocumented” Oct. 24

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Dan-el Padilla Peralta

A firsthand account of the life of an undocumented immigrant in America is the topic for the next program in the fall 2017 University Forum series at The University of Southern Mississippi.

Dan-el Padilla Peralta, a professor at Princeton University recognized as one of the country’s top classicists, will share his perspective on being an undocumented immigrant in America in his presentation, “Undocumented,” which forms his acclaimed book, Undocumented: A Dominican Boy's Odyssey from a Homeless Shelter to the Ivy League. This program is set for Tuesday, Oct. 24 at 6 p.m. in Bennett Auditorium on the Hattiesburg campus.

Peralta’s family came to the U.S. in 1989 from the Dominican Republic. After the family’s temporary visa expired, his father returned to the Dominican Republic, but the rest of the family remained in New York, where Peralta’s mother raised him as they moved from shelter to shelter until he enrolled at Princeton. He kept hidden his undocumented status until he shared his secret with the Wall Street Journal in 2006. Since then, he’s told his story to advance the discussion of immigrants’ roles in shaping modern America.

“University Forum brings national debates to southern Mississippi,” said Dr. Andrew Haley, director of University Forum. “Whether you support the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program or you want to build a wall between Texas and Mexico, you will find Dan-el Padilla Peralta’s experiences as an undocumented immigrant growing up in New York forces you to think harder about the role of immigrants in the United States in the 21st century."

Presented by the Southern Miss Honors College, University Forum is free and open to the public. University Forum is also available for viewing at the Gulf Park Campus in Long Beach in Hardy Hall, room 316 via Interactive Video Network (IVN). For more information, email