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Becoming American Illegal immigration, cultural citizenship and identity

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Description: In this study I examine citizenship as a "symbolic performance, rhetorically constituted and socially performed" (Kells, 2006, p. 215). This assumption guides our understanding of how undocumented Mexican immigrants become cultural citizens of the United States as a result of their daily narratives, and their participation in their communities. My data came from the oral histories of three Mexican immigrants who entered the country illegally, and have since decided to become citizens. The interviews focused on two major events: (a) illegal immigration into the United States, and (b) the decision to stay in the United States. Using co-cultural theory, I analyzed the data, and found seven communication practices used by the participants to change their relationships to the dominant structures around them: Intragroup Networking, Strategic Distancing, Emphasizing Strengths, Mirroring, Overcompensating, Confronting, and Meriting. These relationships were contextualized by an historical overview of the Mexican immigrant identity and immigration policy.
Language: English
Format: Degree Work