11/20/2013 10:19 am ET

'The Ones Who Don't Stay' Novel Paints Portrait Of Immigrant Women's Sacrifices

Johnny Nunez via Getty Images

Immigration is dominating the political conversation these days – but in a new book “The Ones Who Don’t Stay,” actress and filmmaker Paola Mendoza makes it personal, striving to paint a portrait of the extraordinary women who have left their homeland in search of better opportunities in the United States.

“I wanted to create something about immigrants that was a contrast to polarizing headlines. We should be able to think of immigrants as human beings, as opposed to nameless people who break laws, complicate policy and shouldn’t be here,” says Mendoza, who was born in Bogota, Colombia and is now based in Brooklyn, New York. “I wanted to show that immigrants are not here to be a drain on this country or society. I am a proud immigrant and I think what I’ve been able to contribute is characteristic of the majority of immigrants.”

Read more on NBC Latino