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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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Undocumented Testimony

Undocumented Testimony

American DREAMers

(p.222) 6 Undocumented Testimony
Documenting the Undocumented

Marta Caminero-Santangelo

University Press of Florida

This chapter considers recent life narratives by undocumented youth who are activists for the DREAM (Development, Relief, and Education for Alien Minors) Act, including the UCLA students’ compilation Underground Undergrads: UCLA Undocumented Students Speak Out (2008), William Pérez’s, We Are Americans: Undocumented Students Pursuing the American Dream (2009), and interviews of undocumented students. DREAM activists engage in an ethical intervention into immigration debates through their insistence on “coming out of the shadows.” The chapter examines how these youth have shaped their stories for particular rhetorical and political ends, creating out of the raw material of their lives plots and themes that are remarkably consistent across stories (despite differences of situation or country of origin) and that are clearly crafted to achieve a testimonio function, to move people to support of the DREAM act. The “Dreamers,” as they call themselves, thus constitute a visible counterpublic that challenges norms and assumptions about who can be a subject and agent of political activism and change.

Keywords:   DREAM Act, testimonio, counterpublic, undocumented, immigration, activism, Underground Undergrads

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