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Identity, Social Activism, and the Pursuit of Higher Education

The Journey Stories of Undocumented and Unafraid Community Activists

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Susana M. Muñoz

The topic of immigration has become increasingly volatile in U.S. society, and undocumented college students play a central role in mobilizing and politicizing a critical mass of activists to push forth a pro-immigration agenda, in particular the Development, Relief, and Education for Alien Minors (DREAM) Act. The DREAM Act is the only federal legislation that would grant conditional citizenship and some financial aid assistance to undocumented students who have completed two years of college or enlist in military service. Since the DREAM Act failed to pass, undocumented students have moved from peaceful marches to acts of civil disobedience, seeking to disrupt the public discourse that positions undocumented students as living in the shadows of our system. Undocumented college students have created public forums in which they «come out» from these invisible images and pronounce themselves as «undocumented and unafraid».
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About the author

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Susana M. Muñoz is Assistant Professor of Higher Education in the School of Education at Colorado State University. She previously served as a faculty member at the University of Wisconsin Milwaukee. Her scholarly interests center on the experiences of underrepresented populations in higher education. Specifically, Dr. Muñoz focuses her research on issues of access, identity, and college persistence for undocumented Latina/o students, while employing perspectives such as Latino critical race theory, Chicana feminist epistemology, and college persistence theory to identify and deconstruct issues of power and inequities as experienced by these populations. She utilizes multiple research methods as mechanisms to examine these matters with the ultimate goal of informing immigration policy and higher education practices.

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