Citizenship and Undocumented Youth: An Analysis of the Rhetorics of Migrant-Rights Activism in Neoliberal Contexts
AuthorRibero, Ana Milena
AdvisorLicona, Adela C.
MetadataShow full item record
PublisherThe University of Arizona.
RightsCopyright © is held by the author. Digital access to this material is made possible by the University Libraries, University of Arizona. Further transmission, reproduction or presentation (such as public display or performance) of protected items is prohibited except with permission of the author.
AbstractThis project explores the productive form and function of rhetorics that produce and are produced by the US crisis of migration. Occupying the disciplinary interstices of rhetorical theory, transnational feminist inquiry, ethnic studies, and critical analyses of race, this project presents an analysis of citizenship as defined by DREAMer activism. "DREAMer" is the popular label given to undocumented young activists who initially mobilized in support of the DREAM Act. I analyze multimodal texts from the National Immigrant Youth Alliance's (NIYA) "Bring Them Home" campaign, a DREAMer-led set of actions advocating for migrant belonging, and argue that in addition to their radical possibilities, migrant-rights rhetorics also reify neoliberal discourses of gendered, sexualized, and racialized oppression that sustain the dehumanization of migrants of color in the US. At a time when migration crises are gaining increasing global attention, this project challenges scholars and activists to imagine discourses and practices that avoid reproducing racialized, sexualized, and gendered oppressions. I analyze multimodal texts related to the Dream 9, Dream 30, and Dream 150 actions in which groups of DREAMers who had been deported or left the US on their own accord presented themselves at various US Ports of Entry and asked the US for asylum. Part of NIYA's "Bring the Home" campaign, these unprecedented actions transformed traditional migrant-rights activism by asking for DREAMers to be allowed to "return home," thus, crafting the nation-state as the home in which DREAMers belong. Employing rhetorical analysis, I argue that DREAMer activism helps to redefine the nation-state in ways that are more inclusive to migrants of color; yet, because they rely on the nation-state as the granter of belonging, these migrant rhetorics also reinforce neoliberal nationalist ideas of individualism, heteronormativity, and patriarchy that legitimize the continued exclusion of migrants of color from the national imaginary.
Degree ProgramGraduate College
Rhetoric, Composition & the Teaching of English