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


  • Ina Batzke Westfälische Wilhelms University Münster



DREAM Act, Undocumented Youth, Public Discourse, Immigration Rhetoric


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.

Author Biography

Ina Batzke, Westfälische Wilhelms University Münster

Ina Batzke holds a Bachelor‘s degree in Communications from Hanze University in Groningen and a Master‘s degree in American Studies from Westfälische Wilhelms University Münster, where she has written her master thesis on “Immigration Rhetoric in the Controversy Surrounding AZ S.B. 1070“. Currently, she is a PhD student at the Graduate School Practices of Literature, which is also affiliated with the University of Münster. Her PhD Thesis examines contemporary immigration rhetoric in the context of the U.S. DREAM Act. Her overall interests include the dichotomies of nationalism and integration in the United States, and how these influence literature, public media and rhetoric.




How to Cite

Batzke, Ina. “Collective Action and Public Self-Representation of Undocumented Youth Surrounding the United States DREAM Act Controversy”. Current Objectives of Postgraduate American Studies, vol. 15, no. 1, June 2014, doi:10.5283/copas.184.