Collective Action and Public Self-Representation of Undocumented Youth Surrounding the United States DREAM Act Controversy

Ina Batzke


This article investigates the advocacy of undocumented immigrant youth to realize the passage of the United States DREAM Act, a highly controversial legislation proposal that would provide qualifying undocumented, educated immigrants a pathway to permanent citizenship. While earlier phases of activism (2001 to 2007) have been classified as following the strategies of a neoliberal immigration reform discourse, from 2007 onwards undocumented youth changed their tactics, using a more radical approach which involved increased visibility and vocality, the use of civil disobedience tactics, and the disclosure of their undocumented status. It will be argued that discourse participants thereby managed to create narratives and acts that challenge existing neoliberal discursive frameworks and reconstructed their self-understanding and representation.


DREAM Act, Undocumented Youth, Public Discourse, Immigration Rhetoric

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