Behold the Dreamers

Behold the Dreamers

by

Imbolo Mbue

Teachers and parents! Struggling with distance learning? Our Teacher Edition on Behold the Dreamers can help.

Bubakar Character Analysis

Bubakar is “a fast-talking Nigerian” immigration lawyer with a practice in Flatbush, Brooklyn who helps Jende navigate the American immigration system. Bubakar maintains an “ultraclean and perfectly organized office” and has a law diploma from a school in Nebraska affixed to the wall. Winston distrusts his competence, though Bubakar has hundreds of African clients residing all over the United States. He helps them and Jende invent stories to apply successfully for asylum. Bubakar is described as a small man with “extra-long hair flying out of his perpetually flared nostrils.” He has a house in Canarsie, New York. One of his daughters is in medical school, while another is enrolled at Brooklyn College. His son is a civil engineer in New Jersey.

Bubakar Quotes in Behold the Dreamers

The Behold the Dreamers quotes below are all either spoken by Bubakar or refer to Bubakar. For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
The Sustainability of the American Dream Theme Icon
). Note: all page numbers and citation info for the quotes below refer to the Penguin edition of Behold the Dreamers published in 2016.
Chapter 11 Quotes

“Listen to me,” Bubakar said, somewhat impatiently. “As far as Immigration is concerned, there are many things that are illegal and many that are gray, and by ‘gray’ I mean the things that are illegal but which the government doesn’t want to spend time worrying about. You understand me, abi? My advice to someone like you is to always stay close to the gray area and keep yourself and your family safe. Stay away from any place where you can run into police—that’s the advice I give to you and to all young black men in this country. The police is for the protection of white people, my brother. Maybe black women and black children sometimes, but not black men. Never black men. Black men and police are palm oil and water. You understand me, eh?”

Related Characters: Bubakar (speaker), Jende Jonga
Page Number: 73-74
Explanation and Analysis:
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Behold the Dreamers PDF

Bubakar Character Timeline in Behold the Dreamers

The timeline below shows where the character Bubakar appears in Behold the Dreamers. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Chapter 3
The Sustainability of the American Dream Theme Icon
The Modern Immigrant Experience Theme Icon
...an American citizen, applying for asylum is the easiest path to American citizenship. Winston hires Bubakar—"a fast-talking Nigerian” with an office in Flatbush, Brooklyn—based on the recommendation of a friend of... (full context)
The Modern Immigrant Experience Theme Icon
Jende tells Bubakar his story so that the lawyer can use elements from his life to construct the... (full context)
The Modern Immigrant Experience Theme Icon
Family and Belonging Theme Icon
When Winston expresses skepticism, Bubakar insists that he knows more about how to handle immigration judges and that Winston should... (full context)
Chapter 9
The Sustainability of the American Dream Theme Icon
The Modern Immigrant Experience Theme Icon
On a Tuesday in April 2008, Bubakar calls while Jende’s parked on a street corner, “reading Clark’s discarded Wall Street Journal.” When... (full context)
The Sustainability of the American Dream Theme Icon
The Modern Immigrant Experience Theme Icon
Bubakar reminds Jende of how far they’ve come in his case and that it was Bubakar... (full context)
Chapter 11
The Modern Immigrant Experience Theme Icon
One evening, while waiting for Cindy, Jende gets a call from Bubakar. It’s been a week since they last spoke. Bubakar explains that the Immigration courts are... (full context)
The Sustainability of the American Dream Theme Icon
The Modern Immigrant Experience Theme Icon
Jende feels better, as though released from under a great weight. Bubakar says that his situation is better than most because he has a wife who has... (full context)
The Sustainability of the American Dream Theme Icon
The Modern Immigrant Experience Theme Icon
Bubakar encourages Jende not to give up hope. If Obama or Hillary becomes president, he says,... (full context)
Chapter 20
The Sustainability of the American Dream Theme Icon
The Modern Immigrant Experience Theme Icon
...a child shouldn’t know about his father’s possible deportation. He goes on to say that Bubakar has promised that they can be in the country for years and that anything can... (full context)
Chapter 26
The Sustainability of the American Dream Theme Icon
The Modern Immigrant Experience Theme Icon
Class and Interdependency Theme Icon
...from work, she resents Jende making decisions for her. In regard to Neni’s visa status, Bubakar already assured Jende that he would help to get a medical leave of absence approved... (full context)
Chapter 35
The Modern Immigrant Experience Theme Icon
When Jende calls Bubakar about the letter, the lawyer assures him that this is typical and they’ll just continue... (full context)
The Modern Immigrant Experience Theme Icon
...business development and trade.” Still, the colleague advises Jende to find a smarter lawyer than Bubakar. Winston wonders why Bubakar didn’t use a political asylum story, and Jende wonders why Winston... (full context)
The Sustainability of the American Dream Theme Icon
The Modern Immigrant Experience Theme Icon
Jende talks to Neni about his asylum case. They agree to stick with Bubakar and encourage each other to be hopeful. But, that night, they each have nightmares. Jende... (full context)
Chapter 36
The Modern Immigrant Experience Theme Icon
Family and Belonging Theme Icon
...his situation with strangers. When he berates her, she offers no excuse. She knows that Bubakar warned them to guard their immigration status and not to share it with anyone because... (full context)
Chapter 40
The Sustainability of the American Dream Theme Icon
The Modern Immigrant Experience Theme Icon
...he wore on his first day chauffeuring for the Edwards family. He stands next to Bubakar, who “answer[s] most of the judge’s questions.” Next, “Bubakar and the judge and the attorney... (full context)
Chapter 49
The Sustainability of the American Dream Theme Icon
The Modern Immigrant Experience Theme Icon
...get them to America happened because of Winston, who’s offered to pay the rest of Bubakar’s fees, allowing them to keep the money that they saved. However, they can no longer... (full context)
Chapter 52
The Sustainability of the American Dream Theme Icon
The Modern Immigrant Experience Theme Icon
Bubakar agrees to petition the immigration judge to close the deportation case in exchange for Jende... (full context)
Chapter 54
The Sustainability of the American Dream Theme Icon
The Modern Immigrant Experience Theme Icon
...there’s nothing else to do. Three days later, Jende stands before an immigration judge with Bubakar and requests voluntary departure. Jende doesn’t feel relief until Neni looks at him that night,... (full context)
Chapter 56
The Modern Immigrant Experience Theme Icon
...Friday afternoon, Jende finds out that the judge has granted his request for voluntary departure. Bubakar tells him that he has to leave by the end of September. Jende grins and... (full context)