Born in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic, Dan-el Padilla Peralta came to the United States with his family at the age of four and remained in the country when his visa expired, thus making him an undocumented immigrant.. He received his BA summa cum laude from Princeton University, where he was chosen salutatorian of the class of 2006. He received his MPhil from the University of Oxford and his PhD in classics from Stanford University. He is currently a Mellon Research Fellow at Columbia University. His memoir Undocumented: A Dominican Boy’s Odyssey from a Homeless Shelter to the Ivy League was published in July 2015.