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Documenting the UndocumentedLatino/a Narratives and Social Justice in the Era of Operation Gatekeeper$
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Marta Caminero-Santangelo

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9780813062594

Published to Florida Scholarship Online: January 2017

DOI: 10.5744/florida/9780813062594.001.0001

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Selling the Undocumented

Selling the Undocumented

Life Narratives of Unauthorized Immigrants

(p.149) 4 Selling the Undocumented
Documenting the Undocumented

Marta Caminero-Santangelo

University Press of Florida

Chapter 4 examines two collections of first-person oral testimonies of the undocumented: Alicia Alarcón’s The Border Patrol Ate My Dust and Peter Orner’s Underground America: Narratives of Undocumented Lives. While both texts contain narratives that bear witness to immigration-related trauma, the packaging and editing of the testimonies is crucial in providing cues to readers for how to read—and thus respond ethically to—these testimonies. The chapter argues that the marketing and covert forms of editorial manipulation in Border Patrol most often work to depoliticize the content of the narratives, capitalizing on readerly interest in undocumented immigration while potentially undermining the resistant testimonio functions of the text. In Underground America, comparatively, the quite prominent editorial matter mediates the first-person testimonies more overtly than Border Patrol, but at the same time constructs a particular readerly context for the accounts as testimonio—a context in which moral and ethical considerations are explicitly invoked.

Keywords:   testimonies, testimonio, undocumented, The Border Patrol Ate My Dust, Underground America

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