Eileen Truax journalist and writer

About Eileen

Eileen Truax was born in Mexico City, where she was a political reporter and a Congress correspondent for five years. In 2004 she moved to Los Angeles and for seven years worked for La Opinión, the largest Spanish-Language newspaper in the US, covering immigration, politics, and Mexico-US relations.

In the United States her work has been published in The Washington Post, The New York Times ESVice, Americas Quarterly, LongreadsAlDia News and Hoy Los Angeles among others. In Spain, in Política Exterior, Revista 5W and Altair Magazine. In Mexico she has been a regular contributor to NewsweekEl Universal, Proceso and GatopardoShe’s co-founder of Malaespina Producciones, a documentary and short films video production company based in Los Angeles.

Eileen is a member of the National Association of Hispanic Journalists (NAHJ) and is co-founder of Cuadernos Doble Raya, a journalist network with members in eight countries. She has been an international reporting fellow with the International Center for Journalists (ICFJ) and the International Women's Media Foundation (IWMF), to cover stories about immigrant youth in Spain. Currently she's content director for the International Symposium on Migration Journalism, in Mérida, Spain. She was selected as a Knight-Wallace journalism fellow 2019-20 at the University of Michigan.

Books and publications

Eileen is author of Dreamers, an Immigrant Generation’s fight for their American Dream (Océano, 2013; Beacon Press, 2015), a book that sheds light about the situation of undocumented students in the US. Dreamers was selected by the Association of American University Presses (AAUP) to be part of their 2016 Annual Collection for Public and School Libraries.

Her second book, We built the wall, is a review on how the US shuts down asylum seekers on political grounds (Verso, 2018). How does it feel to be unwanted. Stories of resistance and resilience from Mexican in the United States (Beacon Press, 2018) is her most recent book ––published first in Spanish (Planeta, 2017).

Her stories have been published in six other books: Sin Maletas (Carena, 2018), a book with stories about refugees and immigrants from exile; Tiembla (Almadía, 2018), a book with stories about the aftermath of the 2017 earthquake in Mexico City; Inventar lo posible. Manifiestos mexicanos contemporáneos (Taurus, 2017); Los 12 mexicanos más pobres. El lado B de la lista de millonarios (Planeta, 2016), a project with an “anti-Forbes” list portraying people living in poverty in Mexico and the US; 72 Migrantes (Almadía, 2011), a book with stories about Central American immigrants murdered in northern Mexico; and Tú y yo coincidimos en la noche terrible (2012), a memoir on murdered Mexican journalists. She was also an English-Spanish translator of the Latino Immigrant Civic Engagement report series for the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars.

Her first novel, Fecha de Caducidad, co-authored with Beatriz Rivas and Armando Vega-Gil (Alfaguara, 2015) is a love story crossed by the disappearance of the 43 missing students of Ayotzinapa, Mexico.

Eileen is currently working on projects about immigrant youth in Spain, and about indigenous immigrants in the United States.

Reviews about Dreamers

“Eileen Truax offers a gripping, close-up account of the lives of Dreamers—those young undocumented people who President Obama argued are American ‘in every single way but one: on paper.’ Through in-depth interviews and participation in their organizations and events, Truax captures the Dreamers’ passions and hopes, as well as the heartbreaking challenges that our country’s policies impose on them. She also paints a convincing portrait of the painstaking work and heady successes of one of the country’s most important movements for social change in the twenty-first century.”

—Aviva Chomsky, author of Undocumented: How Immigration Became Illegal, about Dreamers


Reviews about We Built the Wall

“Eileen Truax has given us an evocative and human portrait of the so-called immigration crisis, bringing together gripping firsthand narratives of refugees with an incisive analysis of America’s broken asylum policy. With attention to lives that have been put in jeopardy by Mexican and American governments alike, We Built the Wall is the book we need in this time of rising nationalisms—a must-read clarion call for empathy across borders in the age of Trump.”

– Ali Noorani, Executive Director, National Immigration Forum


“We Built the Wall combines the flair of a novel and the depth of the best investigative journalism with a passionate commitment to human rights to take readers into the heart of today’s immigration crisis. Truax highlights the voices of people who are fighting for justice on both sides of the border to shed light on the systems that have led to a deeply transnational human rights crisis. Immigration, she makes clear, is the result, not the cause, of this crisis.”

– Aviva Chomsky, author of Undocumented: How Immigration Became Illegal and “They Take Our Jobs!”: And 20 Other Myths About Immigration


“A lucid account of US asylum policy, both during the Cold War, when it was granted overwhelmingly to people leaving the Soviet Union, Cuba and Vietnam, but withheld from people brutalized by Washington’s allies—in Guatemala, El Salvador, Haiti—and now in the age of deportation, when Mexicans and Central Americans heading north, including children in fear for their lives, find it almost impossible to obtain refugee status.”

– Jeremy Harding, Contributing Editor at The London Review of Books and author of Border Vigils: Keeping Migrants out of the Rich World

Reviews about "How does it feel to be unwanted"

“An urgent book for our times. When immigrant voices are being silenced, when immigrant families are being torn apart, when immigrant youth are being denied their right to dream of a better future, this book inspires us to see, to listen, and to understand. Above all, it celebrates the tenacity and resilience of a community whose stories are, without any doubt, part of the American experience.”

—Reyna Grande, author of The Distance Between Us

Workshops and speaking engagements

As a member of Cuadernos Doble Raya, Eileen Truax is part of a team who teaches writing and reporting workshops for student and mid-career journalists. Individually, she teaches four workshops: Long-form journalism; Immigration for journalists; Social Media for journalists; and Media Outreach for non-profit organizations. She also teaches a writing workshop for the Parents Task Force of Best Start Metro LA, a community partnership in Los Angeles that maintains healthy and safe neighborhoods for children and families. The stories produced by her students, mostly immigrant mothers, are published in the program's newsletter and distributed among their own communities.

Eileen is often invited to participate in book fairs, panels and speaking engagements to discuss journalism, immigration and education. She has been a speaker at the University of Southern California (USC), the University of California Los Angeles (UCLA), the Institute for the Americas, DePauw University, Bryn Mawr College, the Claremont McKenna College, Miami Dade College, Indiana State University, Temple University, and the Education Writer's Association (EWA). In Mexico she has been invited to the Universidad Iberoamericana, Instituto Tecnológico Autónomo de México (ITAM), Universidad Autónoma Metropolitana (UAM), Universidad Autónoma de la Ciudad de México (UACM) and to the Colloquium of International Migration, among others. In Spain, she has been a speaker at the Universidad de Navarra, in Pamplona; the Digital Journalism Congress in Huesca; the International Symposium on Migration Journalism in Mérida, and Faber Arts, Science and Humanities Residency in Catalonia.

Eileen was one of the speakers at the 89Plus Americas Marathon in Mexico City, an event that brought together emerging practitioners from different disciplines with world-renowned artists and thinkers. In 2016 she was invited to the Gabriel García Márquez Journalism Festival in Medellín, Colombia, where she was part of a panel about immigration moderated by journalist Jon Lee Anderson. In 2018 she participated in an immigration debate about "El Salvador and the US border wall" as part of the Central American Journalism Forum organized by El Faro in San Salvador, and as a speaker at the Iberoamerican Immigration and Development Forum in Guatemala.

In 2016 she was invited to speak in "Making Americans, Making America: Immigration, Citizenship and the Public University" a special forum hosted by Gen. Colin Powell, the Colin Powell School for Civic and Global Leadership, and the Carnegie Corporation of New York.

Upcoming events


May 6-8, Baltimore, MD. Education Writers Association National Seminar.

May 9th, Los Angeles. Screening and discussion panel: "The Unafraid".

May 27-30, Ciudad Juárez, México. Migration Journalism workshop (more info to come).

October 10th and 11th, Mérida, Spain. II Congreso Internacional de Periodismo de Migraciones.

October 19th-27th, Oaxaca, México. International Book Fair Oaxaca (FILO).


Past events

January 31st, Philadelphia, PA. Temple University, Klein College Speaker Series. "We built the wall. A conversation about asylum seekers in the United States". Public event.

February 1st, Philadelphia, PA. AlDía Talks Series (public event).

February 4-6, New Orleans, LA. 2019 Plain Talk About Literacy and Learning. Center for Development and Learning.

February 28th, Fullerton, CA. Transparency and Investigating Reporting Workshop. Cal State Fullerton.

March 4th, Madrid, Spain. Journalism workshop, Fundación porCausa.

March 14th and 15th, Huesca, Spain. Roundtable: "Hate speech and vulnerable communities protection". Master class: "Narrativa de las migraciones". Congreso de Periodismo Digital.

March 18th, Madrid, Spain. Foro "La invención de la frontera. Migraciones, migrantes y DDHH". Médicos del Mundo.

March 21-23, Barcelona, Spain. Curso de Crónica de la Migración. Colectivo SomAtents. Open to general public.

May 4th and 5th, Berkeley, CA. Bay Area Book Festival. Downtown Berkeley.

Education and awards

Eileen holds a B.A. in Social Communication and an M.A. in Communication and Politics (Summa Cum Laude) from the Universidad Autónoma Metropolitana, Mexico.

She has been a fellow with the Scripps Howard Immigration Program (International Center for Journalists, ICFJ); the Knight Digital Media Center; the Immigration in the Heartland program (Institute for Justice and Journalism, IJJ); the Inter-American Development Bank Training for Latin-American journalists (Fundación Nuevo Periodismo Iberoamericano, FNPI), and the International Women Media Foundation (IWMF).

She has twice received the José Martí Publishing Award from the National Association of Hispanic Publications (NAHP, 2010, 2015). In 2010 she received the Media Woman of the Year Award from the California State Legislature. In 2016 she received an Honorary Mention by the Inter-American Press Society. In 2018 she received theKeith P. Sanders Outstanding Service Award from the California State University Northridge (CSUN), "for unwavering support for the CSUN Journalism Department, its students and the community".


email: eileentruax [at] gmail [dot] com

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