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Identity, Social Activism, and the Pursuit of Higher Education

The Journey Stories of Undocumented and Unafraid Community Activists

Series:

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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Chapter Seven

Assessment of DACA: The Two-Year Report

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From Undocumented to Becoming DACAmented … “I licked my card and it tastes like plastic, it doesn’t taste like freedom”

DACA Clinic Reflection: With a cup of hot coffee in hand, I arrive promptly at 8 a.m. at the middle school to set up for the DACA clinic, only to find 10 families awaiting our arrival at the front door. I quicken my pace to meet the rest of the volunteers inside the school while making eye contact with the little children, flashing them an excited smile. Inside the old cafeteria I find my DACA clinic teammates consisting of law school students, lawyers, Latino student organization members, and university and community members.     Once the tables, paperwork, and organizers are ready, the cafeteria quickly fills and is buzzing with voices. My first applicant, accompanied by his mother, sits down and sets an overflowing folder in the middle of our table. The mother looks unfazed by this process but the young man seems excited. During the inquiry process I hear a few particular questions (“How did you get here? Where was the point of entry?”) that bring back a flood of memories for the mother. A bit sad and in pain, she tells me her story, which answers the majority of questions I was going to ask. The young man opens the brown folder and presents his birth certificate from Guanajuato and a laundry list of all his academic accolades, school activities, and community service recognition. He has no...

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