The Founders’ Plot, a Fascinating and Believable Political Thriller by Frank Victoria

The Bottom Line: A fascinating and believable political thriller that deftly explores the true price of immigration reform in California. 

By the time newly elected California Governor Michael DiGrasso is sworn into office, his mandate from the electorate is clear: eliminate illegal immigration. DiGrasso, a personable Afghanistan War veteran, is supportive of multilingual services, as well as the legal immigration process. But when it comes to illegal immigration, he seeks nothing less than to create an atmosphere where those operating outside the process will no longer want to live in California. 

One of the key components of DiGrasso’s plan is to outlaw the sanctuary cities that permit illegal immigrants to live without fear of arrest or deportation. But to fulfill his plan, he’ll have to disobey the U.S. Supreme Court. Doing so emboldens his political opponents, giving them potential ammunition with which to ponder impeachment. 

But impeachment isn’t the only potential danger the governor faces. There are people in California who might even kill to maintain the status quo. 

Author Frank Victoria explores the detailed political maneuvers needed to end illegal immigration, outlining daunting challenges at the local, state and federal levels. Regardless of readers’ personal stance on illegal immigration, it’s impossible not to find the process of unraveling the current situation – which is laid out in believable detail – extremely sobering. If nothing else, it outlines the political and human cost to see it through. 

Meanwhile, Victoria devotes a substantial subplot to the fate of Carlos Castellano, who routinely sells fake documents to illegal immigrants in California. Carlos has a family who would be hugely impacted if things continue to go DeGrasso’s way, and concerns naturally grow along with the governor’s power. Conversations among friends and family members grow more urgent and emotional as judges start getting tough, and undocumented immigrants start getting rounded up and sent back to their country of origin. But Carlos’ story isn’t necessarily intended to show the human toll of the new policy. After all, he’s managed to save quite a nest egg from his illegal activities, and some conversations among Carlos’ network actually support DiGrasso’s position (“We come to their country, and we act as if we deserve everything they do as citizens. How do you think Mexicans would react if the situation was reversed?”). However, the storyline still adds depth to what is already a well-developed story. 

The Founders’ Plot may not deliver the most climactic ending, but after hitting several high-intensity notes in earlier chapters, it doesn’t really need one. The book’s thorough exploration of the plight of a true reformist is a timely and important read.

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