Disrupting the dream: Undocumented youth reframe citizenship and deportability through anti-deportation activism

  • Unzueta Carrasco T
  • Seif H
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This essay analyzes how undocumented 1.5 generation activists respond to, disrupt and challenge state definitions of citizenship and belonging. The authors look at the work of the Immigrant Youth Justice League (IYJL), an immigrant rights group led by undocumented organizers in Chicago, with a focus on how they frame responses to federal deportation policies and deportations. This activism takes place in the context of a movement led by undocumented 1.5 generation youth whose tactics have included first-person testimony and civil disobedience. This is significant because they place the undocumented body at the forefront of the national dialog on immigration. Through interviews with members of the organization, analysis of first-hand documents and one author's experience as an IYJL co-founder, we find that young undocumented activists increasingly fight for people who do not fit the nation-state's parameters for accessing citizenship or relief from deportation. The state regulates access to citizenship, rights and deportation based on moral and hegemonic frameworks, systematic prejudices and socio-economic conditions. When young undocumented activists challenge these frames, they disrupt the power of the nation-state to make these determinations, and expand the debate about and boundaries of citizenship. [PUBLICATION ABSTRACT]

Author-supplied keywords

  • Activism
  • Chicago
  • Deportation
  • Immigration
  • Undocumented
  • Youth

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  • Tania A. Unzueta Carrasco

  • Hinda Seif

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