“… it’s a damn good read!” — Michael Moore


“J. P. Bone’s novel Illegals is a rarity in contemporary literature — a story which boldly and vividly presents a piece of contemporary history, told through characters who cannot fail to move you with their anguish and their courage. I am reminded of Upton Sinclair and John Steinbeck, who did not hesitate to confront the most urgent issues of their day through their fiction. Illegals is a novel that touches the heart. I hope it is widely read.”

Howard Zinn, Historian, author of A People’s History of the United States


“J. P. Bone proves that where there is a will there is a way that that in the midst of pain, struggle, and sacrifice, no human should be ‘illegal.'”

Jesse “Chuy” Varela, Writer, journalist and jazz historian


“J.P. Bone has not only produced a novel worthy of reading on its literary merits, but his Illegals is also an extraordinary story which captures the human drama of the everyday struggles experienced by Latino immigrants in their quest for survival and social justice.”

Carlos Muñoz, Jr., Professor Emeritus University of California, Berkeley


Illegals is a rare uplifting literary work. It cites chapter and verse the details of the exploitation of working people from Latin America by the corporate colossus up north. It paints a bleak picture of immigrants’ plight, yet offers inspiring hope for those who dare to work together in solidarity.”
Studs Terkel, Pulitzer Prize winning author, historian


Labor Notes reviewed  Illegals:

From the review:
” When politicians and their media mouthpieces blame immigrants for crime, low wages, and unemployment, they’re casting the newcomers as a faceless crowd, stirring up feelings of fear, jealousy, and hatred.
To win people’s minds, you have to touch their hearts… which is why J.P. Bone’s novel Illegals comes at the right time. Bone paints a humane portrait of immigrants with relatable hopes, dreams, and problems at work.”
(Read the full review by clicking below)



Illegals is, in a way, everyone’s story. As a nation of immigrants, most of our families had to find a way, by hook or crook, to get into this country. It wasn’t always pretty. Most have forgotten how it was that we happened to be Americans in the first place. A book like this reminds us that the struggle to enjoy the “freedom” promised in America is exactly just that — still a struggle, still not available to all. I encourage you to read Illegals not just for its powerful commentary, but because it’s a damn good read!”
Michael Moore, Academy award winning director, author


Illegals builds an incisive and utterly convincing narrative about the undocumented worker experience, and it does so in a thoughtful, politically committed, and highly perceptive manner….The novel is a page turner and very touching.” 

Marcial GonzálezAssociate Professor of English Literature, UC Berkeley


Illegals allows us to hear for the first time the voices of characters so far excluded from the chorus of American literature. Central American and Mexican immigrants who made the journey north to escape violence and poverty face the sweatshops of L.A. and union-busting tactics of the modern era. A direct descendant of Galarza’s Barrio Boy, Antonio, the Chicano organizer, must negotiate the treacherous terrain populated by corrupt union officials, powerful bosses, and frightened workers. Illegals teaches us that the new immigrant workforce will not be passively exploited and that, despite postmodern pronouncements to the contrary, the grass roots political tactics of the past are hardly obsolete.”
Jorge Mariscal, Professor of Chicano/a Literature, author


“This moving and intimate story drawn from personal accounts takes you to the heart of the struggles of people fleeing Latin America. By following them with powerful empathy through burning sun, terror and courageous battles to survive, this novel should change forever the way we look at immigrants from south of the border…”
Bob Schildgen, Author of Hey Mr. Green! and the biography of Toyohiko Kagawa


Illegals is accurate and moving description of a good old-fashioned union organizing campaign, as seen from the inside. This makes it, along with other strengths, a valuable handbook for those who want to rebuild the labor movement.”
Steve Early, Author of Save Our Unions: Dispatches from a Movement in Distress


“Long before the Dream Act Movement came into being, J.P. Bone’s novel, Illegals, presented the compelling story of a group of undocumented immigrant factory workers who risked deportation in order to demand better treatment as workers . . . . the novel chronicles the genesis of a group’s collective coming to courage at a time when most undocumented immigrants remained silent about the abuses they experienced . . . . the book is prophetic and revealing . . . . ahead of its time in the way that it depicted a pan-Latino and cross-ethnic coalition of workers striving towards a common goal. Readers will enjoy the story as much as the characters.”
Alberto Ledesma, artist, writer


“The struggle that many Salvadoran migrants experience is documented in this book, which eloquently explores a period in El Salvador that can never be forgotten. With rawness and humanity, J.P. Bone highlights the ordeals suffered by so many across our continent.”

“El drama presentado en este libro sobre el calvario de muchos salvadoreños/as migrantes es expresivo de una etapa histórica de El Salvador que no puede ser olvidada. J.P. Bone expone con crudeza y humanidad este drama sufrido por muchos a lo largo y ancho de nuestro Continente.”
Ramón Cardona, Centro Latino Cuscatlan


Be sure to get the revised Second Edition !

There are many copies of the first edition, published in 1996, available on the internet. Oddly some booksellers list these copies — which have been out of print since 1999 — as “new.”

Bone made many important revisions to Illegals in the new edition. Check the date of publication to be sure you have the newest one. The NEW revised edition was published in 2014 and has blurbs from Howard Zinn, Carlos Muñoz, Jr., and others…

To buy Illegals in print from Amazon or for Kindle or Nook,
just click on the button of your choice below:


amazon linkkindle_link-notextView Illegals on the Barnes & Noble NOOK Store

Hear a sample of Illegals:

Listen to the book reading produced by Chuy Varela:
Read by Ana Inez Rubinstein and Mateo Ruiz

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