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The Hidden Power of Statist Language: Dominant Discourse and Counter-Discourse Surrounding the Undocumented Immigrant Linett Luna

University of California, Los Angeles

The Hidden Power of Statist Language

A chance to interrupt, to violate the adult world, its miasma of discourse about them, for them, but never to them Toni Morrison, Nobel Peace Prize Lecture

Introduction and Background The last decade has seen the topic of immigration gain increasing prominence in public debate, arguably reaching a climactic point of discussion in recent years amongst the general public and politicians alike. With almost twenty five years since the enactment of any major legislation that addressed the status of most of the undocumented population (the last in 1986, known as the Immigration Reform and Control Act), the lives and futures of undocumented immigrants in our country have not been a priority to Congress. Currently, about 11 million undocumented individuals reside in the United States, with slightly over 2 million of them being children and young adults. According to reports released by Immigration and Customs Enforcement, over 1.5 million undocumented immigrants have been deported under the Obama administration from 2009-2012 (U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement 2012). Although the number of undocumented immigrants living in the United States increased steadily in the past ten years, this number peaked at 12 million in 2012, and has since remained around the 11 million figure. This group is made up of individuals who overstayed their visa, hold a Temporary Protected Status (or TPS), crossed the border without proper documentation, and those who seek asylum and are waiting for status adjustment, among others (Pew Research Hispanic Center 2013). Today, a number of Americans show serious concern over protection of borders and the welfare of the national economy (which some would simply sum up as xenophobia), which has led to state and federal programs that target immigrants through increased policing, implementation of

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harsh enforcement, and severe limitations on access to social services (see Arizonas SB1070 or Alabamas HB 56, for example). At the same time, however, the strengthening of the immigrant rights movement, especially youth-led campaigns and actions, has kept immigration as a relevant issue in the mainstream media, and has pushed government officials to take direct action in addressing the exclusion, fear, and legal limbo that undocumented immigrants face every day. Many undocumented immigrant youth and young adults are grassroots organizers in their communities, and regularly appear in media advocating for immigrant rights. In 2010, with five votes short in the Senate, the Federal DREAM Act failed to pass in Congress, a bill that would have created a path to citizenship for eligible immigrant youth who came to the United States as minors and who complete a higher education program or serve two years in the military, among other requirements. In November 2012, Senators Kay Bailey Hutchison (RTexas) and John Kyl (R-Ariz.) presented a bill that the media dubbed the Republican version of the DREAM Act. It is to this ACHIEVE Act, its treatment in the media, and the response of undocumented immigrant youth, that we turn to in order to better understand the logic behind the dominant discourse that permeates American politics and media in their handling of undocumented immigrants. Later, we examine the counter-discourse that challenges these governing norms and creates a space for dissident ideas. Previous Scholarship and Research Approach Past studies on the topic of unauthorized migration have dealt with hard facts and statistical data, producing copious studies in the history of immigration, immigration and its effects on the economy, effects of immigration policy, socioeconomic and political factors that contribute to migration (e.g. Hinojosa Ojeda, et.al 2010, Camarota & Bouvier 1999). In more qualitative studies, questions of acculturation and assimilation, language acquisition, accounts of the

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immigrant experience, among others, are common (e.g. Surez-Orozco & Surez Orozco 1995). It seems, however, that facts such as the undocumented population making up only about 3.5% of the total U.S. population, or the average cost of a detaining a single immigrant per day is $164, are not the talking points used in the common rhetoric surrounding immigration (National Immigration Forum 2012). If it is not hard figures and careful calculations that are at the base of the current discourse, what, then, allows for the rationale dominating the governments and the average Americans discussion of the undocumented immigrant? Few studies in the field of anthropology, such as Santa Anas Like an animal I was treated: anti-immigrant metaphor in US public discourse actually look closely at the way the medias use of language treats and constructs the image of the immigrant, a process that directly affects public opinion and the prevailing perception of immigrants in the United States. Far fewer scholars, such as De Genova, are critical of the way scholars specifically approach the subject of undocumented migrants, the language that is commonly used to explore this issue, and the problematic use of the terms legal and illegal in the first place (2002). Through this study, I aim to explore a new approach to the way dominant discourse constructs a false logic that extends to the media and the general public, and how this bubble of meanings is punctured by the counter-discursive practices of activist immigrant youth who reject these mainstream ideologies. Using the ACHIEVE Act bill text and its treatment in social media, and drawing on Michel Foucaults concepts of discourse and power, as well as Carrithers work on proper nouns (contemporaries v. consociates), and Cohns analysis on language that distances speaker from subject matter, I argue here that the following mediums exemplify how immigrant exclusion, second-class status, inhumane treatment, heavy surveillance, and an unquestioned, default criminalization is maintained and normalized:

The Hidden Power of Statist Language

1) The ACHIEVE Act bill which represents official, legitimate language and serves to dehumanize and abstract the undocumented immigrant, and that places the undocumented immigrant at the bottom of a constructed moral hierarchy 2) The ACHIEVE Act press conference, which frames the bill and which can be seen as an extension of official, statist language, operating to infantilize potential beneficiaries, distance and abstract undocumented immigrant youth, draw focus on the legal parameters of the individual rather than existing law, and paint a false illusion of ample immigrant agency, 3) The discussion of the ACHIEVE Act in the media, which can be seen both as a reflection of mainstream sentiment and as evidence of the extent to which official language influences public discourse, serves to voice the opinions of official entities, invisibilize immigrant youth, and exacerbate the criminalization of undocumented immigrants. I argue that immigrant youth successfully resist official and mainstream attempts to exclude, dehumanize, abstract, invisibilize, and criminalize them and their families, and construct a prominent counter-discourse that characterizes them as informed and legitimate members of American society. These efforts are visible in: 4) The response of activist immigrant youth in official and alternative mediums, which uses in part official language, inclusive messaging, and satirical commentary on proposed legislation and political rhetoric. As already mentioned, I use the terms discourse and counter-discourse largely based on Foucaults idea that discourses are identifiable collections of utterances governed by rules of

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construction and evaluation which determine within some thematic area what may be said, by whom, in what context, and with what effect (as articulated by Faubion in Foucault 2000). I use counter-discourse, on the other hand, as a competing set of ideas that stand as an alternative to or challenge the established dominant discourse. Moreover, the concept of dominant discourse is helpful in our analysis because I believe language proves to be a technique of power that is especially dangerous and effective because of its apparent neutrality and political invisibility (Foucault 2000). Secondly, I also draw on Carrithers article From Inchoate Pronouns to Proper Nouns, in which he illustrates how inchoate pronouns (such as generic nouns) start out disordered and empty but slowly come to gain meaning and specificity. Carrithers notes that through generic nouns, we come to understand subjects as either contemporaries or consociates. Contemporaries are those who we know as types, those whom we can recognize and treat appropriately just insofar as we properly recognize their type, that we identify through our knowledge of their social genus (Carrithers 2008). On the other hand, consociates are people we grow old with, whose lives we participate in, whom we know intimately and in their own termswith whom we share mutual times, mutual places, mutual autobiographical memories, and mutually experienced emotions (Carrithers 2008). Lastly, part of my analysis echoes Cohns article on the technostrategic language that governs the discourse of nuclear weapons amongst so-called defense experts. In her participantobservation study of defense intellectuals, Cohn slowly comes to recognize the language characteristics that allow this group of people to plan the most effective killing methods without a single cringe or hesitation. Specifically, through the use of euphemisms, metaphors, acronyms,

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among other linguistic devices, these individuals achieve an extraordinary abstraction and removal fromreality (Cohn 1987). Methods All data collection was done through internet searches and is available to the general public. I purposely used a simple method of typing key terms in the Google search engine so as to obtain the same results as the average person would when looking for media coverage on the bill and immigrant youth activist reaction. That is, my intent was to look at what was readily available to people in the public domain, whether this yielded a balanced spectrum of different political stances or not. This was meant to provide a reflective sample of the main opinions and impressions of the media on this particular legislative proposal. Only the actual text of the bill and two of the press releases issued by immigrant youth activist groups required more strategic and specific online search techniques. The only exception to restricted accessibility was the Citizen4Me Facebook group which allows viewing through member invitation (which I was lucky to obtain a few days after the Facebook groups creation). I find this more specific search on the immigrant youths counter-discourse perfectly adequate since this sample is meant to reflect an emerging but nevertheless present, alternate collection of ideas, not a representative picture of general, mainstream ideologies. The press conference was transcribed using common linguistic anthropology conventions (see Transcript), while other media coverage of the bill in video, text, and audio was looked as a whole, and only rough transcripts of videos were drafted. Although DREAM Act-eligible and ACHIEVE Act-eligible individuals include youth and adults, for the purpose of this study, I will at times simply use the term youth to avoid redundancy. The ACHIEVE Act

The Hidden Power of Statist Language

Introduced shortly after the presidential election in 2012, the Assisting Children and Helping them Improve their Educational Value for Employment Act is a bill that, if passed, would confer legal status on eligible immigrant youth and set them on a three-stage visa track. Those who meet requirements would apply for a W1 conditional nonimmigrant visa accompanied by a $550 fee. If requirements are met, after four years, W1 visa holders may apply for W2 conditional nonimmigrant visa, accompanied by a $750 free. After six years in W2 visa status, and if all other requirements have been fulfilled, individuals may pay a $2000 fee and apply for a W3 nonimmigrant visa. A W3 visa does not provide permanent legal residency or permit unlimited travel abroad, but unlike W1 and W2 visa holders, W3 visa holders will not have to submit semiannual reports to the State communicating their location and statement of compliance with requirements. After carefully looking through the language of the bill, a handful of patterns became particularly salient that worked together to construct a discourse that dehumanizes immigrant youth (through abstraction, and a stress on their economic value and utility), that establishes the immigrant as inherently inferior to the American citizen (by creating a type of moral and value hierarchy based on citizenship status), and thus organizes a power structure that places applicants under the jurisdiction of the state and U.S. citizens. Let us begin with an account of the nouns used in the text of the bill used to refer to the applicant. The table below shows the results:

The Hidden Power of Statist Language Term Alien Non-immigrant Applicant Individual Person Youth Total Count 172 14 12 2 6 2 208 Percentage 82.7% 6.7% 5.8% 1% 2.9% 1% 100%

If -according to the bill- the immigrant youth or adult is above all, an alien, we must look at the implications of this word choice. Some may argue that the word alien is part of the official, politically correct language regularly employed in immigration policy and hence it is neutral language. An alien, however, has immediate associations with foreign, strange, outsider, different, unknown, and often, threat or danger. No specifically-human terms are triggered, and no immediate positive associations come to mind, except perhaps, intelligent life, from a very positive, science fiction-oriented standpoint. There almost seems to be an avoidance of anything that would put a human face to the individual described in the bill. In all of the text, only one single instance of his or her is found (page 24), and as shown in the chart, only in one out of ten cases is the applicant referred to in a term that is purely human rather than as a classification of migratory status. Just as Cohn demonstrates that the defense experts discussing effective means of destruction and murder use a language that never allows for the mention of death or suffering, government officials deal with aliens without a face, gender, community connections, or familial relationships. A prime example of this is the specific mention that no dependents, lineal ascendants, or collateral ascendants of the applicant may gain any immigration benefit through this bill (lines 22-25, p. 10). Curiously, the word family member is in fact mentioned immediately after, but next to the adjective culpable (line 5,

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p.11). In this way, not only do aliens remain consociates (known because of their group association), but this term also allows for certain ideas to be expressed while it would be odd or even shocking to be uttered in regards to human beings or other groups. To illustrate, while no eyebrows would be raised if an enforcement agent said on TV that he and his team were about to go out to catch 200 aliens, many would become confused or shocked if the same individual was to state he was ready to go out to catch 200 workers. Thus, one can say that this widely accepted legislative language empties the immigrant from all humanity and cuts off any ties (also characteristically human) he or she may have with society, facilitating dehumanization and discriminatory treatment. As the reader moves through the text of the bill, the alien is immediately branded as a commodity, valued solely for his or her ability to produce. The very title of the bill, Assisting Children and Helping them Improve their Educational Value for Employment Act speaks volumes of the purpose of the bill, as well as the legislators view of the ACHIEVE applicant. We will let you adjust your legal status so that you may be of value to the labor market and contribute to the American workforce, is what it seems to say. Some may point to the benevolent nature of the words children, helping, and education, but curiously, it is only in the title and description of the bill (all in page 1) that the words children and youth are mentioned, and the bill specifically denies beneficiaries from applying for federally administered social and student financial aid programs (there goes the help and the education). Furthermore, the text is filled with words that further objectify and dehumanize the applicant: he may be deportable, she may be removed, and he may not become a public charge. If you are deportable, you are disposable, replaceable, you may be kicked out of the country at no serious cost to us. You remove items, objects, things that are not desired. You are not accused of a crime, you become the crime, become a public charge, a

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burden or strain to society. Specifically, the purpose of the bill is said to give the ability to contribute to the safety and economic growth of the United States (p.1). The bill is meant to help the economy, not serve some humanistic purpose of providing a just opportunity for personal growth and social mobility. Lastly, I would like to point at the attributed de facto imperfection, criminalization, and inferiority of the undocumented immigrant through a use of categorization that places the U.S. citizen at the end of a spectrum of morality and social worth, which translates to possession of power. The bill, following official terminology that is also in our immigration system and immigration policy, narrowly defines the different names that an individual bears as he or she goes through a process of legalization according to the ACHIEVE Act. It becomes apparent that the goal of this process is gaining full US citizenship, although the bill itself does not provide any means for this particular adjustment of status. Thus there is a spectrum of statuses: Alien Conditional Nonimmigrant Nonimmigrant Legal Resident U.S. Citizen

This line of statuses would not be problematic if it were not extremely dictating of the rights and privileges each status confers, and more importantly, of the power dynamics that this configuration establishes. The transition from one label to another implies a more lax probation period, less need for surveillance (lower demands for biometrics and compliance documentation), and more protection from deportation. The power imbalances that are created from such migratory status stratification is strikingly exemplified by one of the acceptable forms of evidence an ACHIEVE Act applicant can submit: A sworn affidavit from a citizen of the United States attesting to the aliens good moral character and the length and intimacy of the relationship between the alien and the citizen (lines 16-21, p. 22). The U.S. citizen, by the mere

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fact of being a U.S. citizen, is invested with the power to judge and attest to the moral character of the alien, obviously implying the dubious character of the alien and the inherent legitimacy and morality of the U.S. citizen (whoever he or she may be). Another example of the unquestioned need to prove the undocumented immigrants morality and continuously assess his or her abatement to the law is the inversion of the innocent until proven guilty tenet. Usually, eligibility guidelines for a program are established as a you may be eligible if you meet the following or if youthen you are eligible for. Not in the ACHIEVE Act: The Secretary may not cancel the removal of an alien under subparagraph (B) or grant W -2 conditional nonimmigrant status unless the following conditions are met (lines 9-14, p. 31). That is, you absolutely cannot obtain a benefit unless you do the following. There is an assumed ineligibility until you thoroughly prove yourself otherwise. The 10-year period through which the potential beneficiary comes to gain nonimmigrant status is filled with requirements of background checks, biometrics, and regular proofs of compliance with the law: the necessity to prove your innocence and allegiance to this country is based on the assumption that you are potentially dangerous and violator of American law. It is easy to see, then, why the everyday lives of individuals in the United States, especially those considered noncitizens, have become so heavily governed by their legal status, often turning their legal status into their identity. This is also seen in the language of the bill, where the status of nonimmigrant is also the term used to name the individual. The power of continuously repeating the word alien and the conglomeration of the associations and characteristics attributed to the term became apparent as I took notes on the bill. I suddenly found myself beginning my sentence with the alien must. Not only had my mind gotten used to the term alien, but I was also employing the term and, for a split second, thinking of an

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individual as an alien, with all its connotation baggage attached. The extent to which this discourse influences the way the people think and speak beyond government entities, however, is an important question. We therefore turn to see how the ACHIEVE Act becomes embedded and framed as it moves from one space in the public sphere to the other. The press conference: framing the ACHIEVE Act The press conference where the ACHIEVE Act was first introduced is, in essence, the package in which the ACHIEVE Act was delivered, serving as a frame for the discussion and handling of the bill in the media and general public. The dominant discourse patterns found in the bill (which abstract and distance us from the alien, that criminalize and suggest a false inherent inferiority of the immigrant, and that establish him or her as a commodity) resonate in the press conference. The illusion of choice on behalf of the immigrant, and the infantilization of the undocumented immigrant youth (when convenient), are ideas that are introduced in this communicative event. There were several terms that Senator Hutchison and Senator Kyl used to refer to undocumented youth and adults who could potentially qualify for the bill, including they/them/those (18 instances), people (4 instances), children (2 instances), you (13 instances), young people (3 instances, and folks (1 instance). The framing of potential applicants as others, different and separate from a we is clearly established as Senator Hutchison begins to introduce her legislation:
4 5 6 7 we. know. that there are children. in our country who have been brought he:re uh-i^llegally by their parents. and: we think the-the best step that we can take to: address a>an issue that is very timely< is. to. give a. legal status. uh: that would be earned.

The senators are part of a we, members of our country who seek to find a solution to a problem, they represent an entity invested with the power to give legal status to a group of

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people. And while this we may extend to the American audience (since it is our country) it surely does not extend to the undocumented immigrant, for they are the ones that will receive these legal benefits from us. These potential applicants are them, or in rare cases people, but never are they part of us. Once again, these nouns serve to distance and create a clear division between the average American and the alien. Out of the aforementioned use of pronouns, the image of a minor is alluded to in 5 instances (Transcript lines 5, 17, 23, and 84). Yet, as we have already seen in the text of the bill, the word children is mentioned only twice, both instances on the first page. Furthermore, the guidelines and continuous checks demanded by the legalization process under the ACHIEVE Act is certainly meant for a suspicious, potentially dangerous adult, not a child. And as the bill and the authors of the bill have demonstrated, the proposal does not exactly have altruistic goals. Why then, would the term even be used? One possible answer may be found in the fact that immigration is an extremely touchy subject amongst conservatives in the United States, and that the sponsoring and co-sponsoring legislators may be attempting to present (at a superficial level, through its title and media messaging) an idea of minors in need of an opportunity, or even forgiveness. Considering that the sponsoring legislators did not discuss the bill with immigrant youth activists, however, it is easy to see how these terms become convenient when aiming to hold control over the legislation they author and consequently, over the people their legislation affects. Infantilizing the target population of the bill justifies their exclusion from the drafting process and from official discussion of the bill. Hutchison and Kyl are proud to name other legislators who are collaborating with them, and other folks with whom they have been communicating, none of whom represent the target population of their bill. To meet with

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undocumented immigrant youth who could potentially qualify for the bill would be to legitimize them and recognize them as educated and innocent adults. The element of criminality (via the word illegally) is immediately introduced as the basis of this issue. Although the legislators seem to place the blame on the parent who consciously committed the act of bringing his or her child without proper documentation, the shadow of criminalization extending to the youth is confirmed by their having to earn their legal status. This word is emphasized in the excerpt but also on line 28, and its sentiment is echoed in lines 32-33, where it is made clear that there will be no leniency or special treatment given. The idea that the undocumented immigrant becomes desirable or admissible to American society only when he or she is useful to the country (by means of obtaining advanced degrees or having economic potential) is also made apparent by the presentation of the bill. Lines 26-27 resonate with the already-discussed stated purpose of the bill:
26 and we think the: best thing that we can do to utilize. uh their talents 27 and the education they have recei:ved is to give them a legal st^atus

The idea of giving undocumented young adults the ability to adjust their immigration status stems not from a kind, humanitarian gesture, but from a very practical, capitalistic notion that investments, and human capital must be utilized to make the best out of the situation. An interesting illusion of choice is also established by the language used by the senators, one that is starkly contrasted not only by the reality of immigration system but by the very ACHIEVE Act itself. Senator Hutchison and Kyl present the bill as one alternative to the various choices that undocumented youth have. The following lines are emblematic of this false idea:

The Hidden Power of Statist Language 30 31 32 33 if they decide they want a green card. or they want to: >get into the citizenship track< they can do that under todays law there is. no cha:nge in the requirements they will not get in front of the ^line they will get in the back of the line. theyre not kept from getting that citizenship track nor are they given a preference

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The picture painted is that of individuals who decide they want adjustment of status or a path to citizenship (when in reality, legal status is a necessity and therefore strongly desired), and who have the ability to get into that track under current law (when in reality, the vast majority of undocumented immigrants have absolutely no legal path to citizenship readily available). Kyl bluntly suggests that ACHIEVErs may find a quick path to citizenship by marrying a US citizen, a statement that is not only ill-informed (see Center for Public Integrity article), but that also rules out individuals who choose not to marry, who may wish to marry a non-US citizen, or who may wish to marry someone of the same sex. In fact, a recent study indicated that there are about 267,000 undocumented individuals in the United States who identify as LGBT (Gates 2013). This false idea of the immigrant having agency in abundance over his or her immigration status is useful for three reasons: 1) it conceals the brokenness and obsolescence of the current immigration system, 2) it focuses the attention on the individual rather than on the laws that bind the individual, and 3) it places the blame of having unauthorized status on the individual (i.e. you are undocumented because you want to be or because you do not try to change your status). The Media Although close analysis of media reports will not be made due to the limited scope of this paper, two important points must be made that attest to the powerful link between the media and official language of government entities based on a survey of twenty four video and audio reports, and articles.

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Out of six videos reporting on or discussing the ACHIEVE Act, one of them openly lauded the legislators (Fox Business with Lou Dobbs), four of them either interviewed Senator Hutchison or quoted the sponsoring legislators (two of the Fox Business clips, MSNBC interview, Cronkite News report), one featured a criticism of the bill calling it amnesty (Fox Business featuring Kansas Secretary of State), one of them used the term illegal in its title (Cronkite News) and only one of them discussed the bill in terms of its effect on potential applicants (PBS Arizona). None of the video reports covered reactions from undocumented youth. In eighteen samples of media coverage in electronic audio and text, only six (33%) of these include quotes or commentary from undocumented youth, while seventeen (94%) include direct quotes from legislators or the actual text of the bill. This is important because even in those reports that are critical of the bill or its legislators, the ideas embedded in the bill and the opinion of legislators are being given a space in the media, and thus it is these ideas that are available in the public sphere for its audience. More importantly, even those news sources that aimed to provide unbiased, objective reporting are in reality helping disseminate a very specific set of ideas that are far from neutral or inconsequential. Whether supportive, neutral, or critical of the bill, eleven (61%) of these audio and text sources include the word illegal or illegally. This further proves the way the language of the state becomes the standard, and more importantly, how it is thought of as a language that is neutral and unbiased. As it has already been established, illegal and its variants are in fact loaded with meaning and are linked to numerous negative associations, and immediately establishes a culpable subject as the basis for any cognitive process that may follow. Although it has been repeatedly stated by immigrant rights activists that the word illegal is offensive, dehumanizing, and casts them in a shadow of criminality, it is nevertheless used by politicians, journalists, and

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the average American because it is used by the state and hence still deemed politically correct. It would be unacceptable for a politician to refer to a member of the LGBT community as a fag, for example, but no controversy ensues when public officials use the word illegal. That is what they are, many would say. On the other hand, when individuals decidedly choose to employ the term undocumented they may be readily identified as immigrant-friendly, rather than neutral. My aim in pointing out the imbalance in media coverage (overwhelmingly voicing the opinions and ideas of legislators) and the use of apparently neutral terms is to show the power and danger of an apparently neutral dominant discourse on undocumented immigrants. The invisibility of a language that seriously hurts the perception of the undocumented immigrant is what makes this set of ideas so readily available in our everyday lives and what casts government officials with an apparent claim to legitimacy and truth. Immigrant Youth Activist Response The dominant discourse deeply influencing media treatment of undocumented immigrants and public opinion in general, however, does not go unchallenged. Although of all the videos, audio and news articles used in this study, only 6 (24%) feature commentary or reactions from the undocumented youth who would potentially be affected, immigrant youth not only take advantage of these spaces, but also create their own means to transform ideologies both at official and grassroots levels. I would like to point out, first and foremost, that the inclusion of immigrant youth in the public discourse (in this case, in the few media sources that cited them) is a recent trend. Dreamers (as immigrant youth came to be called in the wake of the Federal DREAM Act), slowly inserted themselves in a public sphere that continuously ignored them or invisibilized them, through the

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same communicative tools that the government and the media use to reach the masses. In my research, I located three press releases issued by immigrant youth-led organizations (Orange County Dream Team, Arizona Dream Act Coalition, and United We Dream). Unlike most media coverage, these texts quote other immigrant youth, thus deeming their opinions instrumental to the discussion. The press releases also cite interviewees names and the official titles they hold in their organization (e.g. Lorella Praeli, Director of Advocacy & Policy at United We Dream), demonstrating that legitimacy and high levels of organization are not limited to legislators and other figures of authority. The nature of this communicative practice not only adds legitimacy and professionalism to these organizations and their membership, but also provides the public with an alternative set of ideas, a counter-discourse that challenge dominating ideologies. Certain linguistic elements work together to create an image of the undocumented immigrant as above all, a human being (and thus a consociate, with important social bonds), and as an educated, empowered individual. Whereas the bill and press conference constantly employed a language that abstracted the immigrant, that distanced him or her from the speaker, and that dehumanized and objectified the immigrant, the discourse of immigrant youth activists are filled with terminology that evoke consociates, rather than mere contemporaries. While the dominant discourse on immigration emphasizes an individualistic, faceless, treatment of immigrants that ignore their social ties, these texts employ an inclusive language that constantly call on our community, our families, entire community, policy that integrates, and collective group identity as immigrant youth. It is also important to note that the word illegal is never used in the press releases. Moreover, these forms of communication insert a very real but often silenced aspect of the issue because it is deemed irrelevant: human emotion. Words such as struggle, fought,

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disrespect, our lives, and inhumane, are powerful, emotive terms that can only be attributed to human beings, and more importantly, that allow a connection between subject and audience. This language immediately triggers a recognition that the immigration debate seriously affects real lives and goes beyond statistics and dollar signs. Lastly, the use of criticisms as an unapologetic, direct face threatening act serves to establish immigrant youth as politically informed and empowered individuals. All three press releases include direct criticism of political parties and legislators. UWDs statement called the ACHIEVE Act a cynical political gesture and regarded the GOP as killers of the DREAM Act and as supporters of inhumane policies. OCDTs statement credited the Republican party with a lack of understanding and called their proposal nothing but a political scheme. And in a very creative instance of what could potentially be the ultimate face threatening act, youth activists created a Facebook group named Citizen4Me which seeks to ridicule Senator Kyls comment that potential ACHIEVEers could find a quick path to citizenship through marriage. The web page allows dreamers and US citizens alike to post their profiles to find their match and get married, jokingly stating that its not about love, but about papers (Citizen4Me 2012). The very creation of the web group is a strong reply to the legislators, but by providing a space for other individuals to join and post their profile, the mockery gains force with every new member. By the time this article was written, about 4 months after its inception, Citizen4Me had over 4000 members. It is a running joke that engages the community and that gained enough popularity to cause two news sources to write about it (Nervaez 2012, Le 2012). Thus, although legislators attempt to exclude immigrant youth from the drafting process and discussion of the bill by regarding them as children who are nevertheless aliens, these individuals prove their

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political awareness, creativity, and a deep conviction that they are human beings deserving fair and just treatment. Conclusions Through a close analysis of the language used in government legal documents (as exemplified by the ACHIEVE Act), legislators opinions and official statements, and the media, we find a rationale that is so intricately connected that a single word may trigger a chain of thought processes and eventually, action based on this line of reasoning: If You are an alien You are an alien child You came in illegally You are an illegal alien You are a criminal Then You are different, socially distant from me I know how to best deal with your issue You are an illegal alien You are a criminal You need constant policing and surveillance until you prove your harmelessness You are an illegal alien You are less than a U.S. citizen You are less than a U.S. citizen You do not deserve the same rights as a citizen

Notice that this set of ideas focus on the individuals status and potential for danger or production. Never does this sequence of thoughts allow for scrutinizing the law itself, the very mechanism that have casted the undocumented immigrant in a box of criminality. This body of tightly knit ideas that seem to logically follow one another would not be so powerful and dangerous if the wider society were not prone to using this language and thus perpetuating the

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ideas that come with it. Directly standing in opposition to this conglomeration of apparent truths, immigrant youth activists actively contest this body of preconceived notions that empty the immigrant of its humanity. Through an inclusive language that advocates for the wider immigrant population and that employs political terminology and knowledge, these young adults add a humanizing element to the issue of immigration. Not only do they put a human face to the issue but also establish themselves as informed individuals who are educated and capable of dealing with important issues that [their] lives depend on (Dulce Matuz as quoted in the ADAC press release, 2012). It is important that we, as members of a society deeply governed by state policies, learn to recognize the consequentiality of our language practices. Because language is so essential in bringing order and understanding, the way we express ourselves brings great consequences to the way we relate to others. In this case, the way we speak about undocumented individuals constructs an entire ideology that governs policy discussion and, in turn, also governs the lives of these individuals. In the same way that these dangerous toxic ideas are embedded in the dominant discourse, we can choose to be mindful of the language we employ, and ensure that the discourses we engage in carry a message of respect, justice and peace.

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References Achieve Act [Video file]. Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qjwDXUb-XFg Arizona Dream Act Coalition. (2012). Arizona Dream Act Coalition Reacts to the Introduction of the Achieve Act [Press release]. Retrieved from http://myemail.constantcontact.com/ADAC-Statement-on-Achieve-Act.html?aid=dFA5XURgUPM&soid=1102516353608 Arizona Senator Kyl pushes bill to let some illegal immigrants earn the right to stay in U.S. [Video file]. Retrieved from http://player.vimeo.com/video/54410457 Assisting Children and Helping them Improve their Educational Value for Employment Act, S. 3639, 112th Cong., 2nd Sess.(2012). Camarota, S. A. & Bouvier L. F. (1999, December). The Impact of New Americans: A Review and Analysis of the National Research Council's The New Americans: Economic, Demographic, and Fiscal Effects of Immigration. Center for Immigration Studies. Retrieved from http://www.cis.org/articles/1999/combinednrc.pdf Carrithers, M. (2008). From inchoate pronouns to proper nouns: a theory fragment with 9/11, Gertrude Stein, and an East German ethnography. History and anthropology. 19(2), 16186. doi: 10.1080/02757200802332228 Cohn, C. (1987). Sex and Death in the Rational World of Defense Intellectuals. Signs: Journal of Women in Culture and Society. 12(4), 687-718 Citizen4Me. (2012). Citizen4Me Facebook. Retrieved from https://www.facebook.com/groups/281433035293318/ Crittenden M.R. (2012, November 27). Senators Try to Get Ball Rolling on Immigration.The Wall Street Journal. Retrieved from http://blogs.wsj.com/washwire/2012/11/27/senatorstry-to-get-ball-rolling-on-immigration/ De Genova, N. P. (2002). Migrant "Illegality" and Deportability in Everyday Life. Annu. Rev. Anthropol. 31, 41947. http://www.nicholasdegenova.net/resources/ARA-DeGenova.pdf Fabian, J. (2012, November 27). Jon Kyl, Kay Bailey Hutchison Unveil Alternative To DREAM Act. ABC News. Retrieved from http://abcnews.go.com/ABC_Univision/Politics/republican-senators-introducealternative-dream-act-bill/story?id=17820394#.ULY3rVF5LSh Ferris, S. (2012, November 28). Senator mistakenly says marriage quickly legalizes young immigrants. The Center for Public Integrity. Retrieved from

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http://www.publicintegrity.org/2012/11/28/11863/senator-mistakenly-says-marriagequickly-legalizes-young-immigrants Foley, E. (2012, November 15). Dream Act-Lite Plan Circulating Among Republicans: Report. The Huffington Post. Retrieved from http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/11/15/dreamact-lite-republicans_n_2139750.html Foley, E. (2012, November 27). Kay Bailey Hutchison, Jon Kyl Working On Dream Act-Style Immigration Bill. The Huffington Post. Retrieved from http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/11/27/achieve-act-kay-bailey-hutchison-jonkyl_n_2198732.html Foucault, M. (2000). Introduction. In The essential works of Foucault 1954-1984: Power. (Paul Rabinbow, Series Ed. ed., Vol. 3). New York: The New Press. Fox News Latino. (2012, November 27). Republicans Counter Immigration DREAM with Achieve Act. Fox News Latino. Retrieved from http://latino.foxnews.com/latino/politics/2012/11/27/republican-propose- immigrationcounter-to-dream-act-achieve-act/ Gates, G. J. (March 2013). LGBT Adult Immigrants in the United States. The Williams Institute UCLA School of Law. Retrieved from http://williamsinstitute.law.ucla.edu/wpcontent/uploads/LGBTImmigrants-Gates-Mar-2013.pdf Helderman, R.S. (2012, November 27). Senators introduce GOP alternative to Dream Act.The Washington Post. Retrieved from http://articles.washingtonpost.com/2012-1127/politics/35509267_1_latino-voters-dream-act-immigration Hinojosa Ojeda, R.et al.(2010, October 1). No DREAMers Left Behind: The Economic Potential of DREAM Act Beneficiaries. North American Integration and Development Center. Retrieved from http://www.naid.ucla.edu/uploads/4/2/1/9/4219226/b67_hinojosa_2010_no_dreamers_lef t_behind_6.pdf Kansas Secretary of State: The 'Achieve Act' is a Disaster [Video file]. Retrieved from http://video.foxbusiness.com/v/2000973791001/kansas-secretary-of-state-the-achieveact-is-a-disaster/ Kyl, Hutchison Propose ACHIEVE Act [Video file]. Retrieved from http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2cnbAi-azP0 Le, V. (2012, November 28). Retiring Sens. Hutchison and Kyl Announce Achieve Act, Scaleddown DREAM Act but Without Citizenship. America's Voice. Retrieved from http://americasvoiceonline.org/blog/retiring-sens-hutchison-and-kyl-announce-achieveact-scaled-down-dream-act-but-without-citizenship/

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Le, V. (2012, November 29). Citizen4Me: A New Hub for Immigrants and Citizens to Find Their Match, Get Their Papers. America's Voice. http://americasvoiceonline.org/uncategorized/citizen4me-a-new-hub-for-immigrants-andcitizens-to-find-their-match-get-their-papers/ Lewis, M.K. (2012, November 15). Details about the GOP's alternative to the DREAM Act emerge. The Daily Caller. Retrieved from http://dailycaller.com/2012/11/15/detailsabout-the-gops-alternate-to-the-dream-act-emerge/ Stras, M.B. (2012, December 4). United States: The ACHIEVE Act. Mondaq. Retrieved from Mondaq.com/unitedstates/x/209788/work+visas/the+ACHIEVE+act Morrison, T. Toni Morrison - Nobel Lecture [Lecture transcript]. Nobelprize.org. Retrieved from http://www.nobelprize.org/nobel_prizes/literature/laureates/1993/morrison-lecture.html National Immigration Forum. (2012, August). The Math of Immigration Detention: Runaway Costs for Immigration Detention Do Not Add Up to Sensible Policies. National Immigration Forum. Retrieved from http://www.immigrationforum.org/images/uploads/MathofImmigrationDetention.pdf Nervaez, G. (2012, November 28). Citizen4Me: Where Dreamers can find U.S. citizens to marry. VOXXI. Retrieved from http://www.voxxi.com/citizen4me-dreamers-citizens-marry/ Nervaez, G. (2012, November 28). Dreamers reject the Achieve Act introduced by Republicans. VOXXI. Retrieved from http://www.voxxi.com/dreamers-reject-achieve-act-republicans/ Orange County Dream Team. (2012). OCDT Responds to the ACHIEVE Act. [Press release]. Retrieved from http://www.istillhaveadream.org/ocdt-response-to-the-achieveact/?doing_wp_cron=1363336569.6254909038543701171875 Persad, K.(2012, November 27). Kyl backs bill to let some illegal immigrants earn the right to stay in U.S. Cronkite News. Retrieved from http://cronkitenewsonline.com/2012/11/senator-kyl-teams-up-with-texassenator-to-launch-a-new-immigration-initiative/ Pew Research Hispanic Center. (2013, January 29). A Portrait of the 40 Million, Including 11 Million Unauthorized: A Nation of Immigrants. Pew Research Center. Retrieved from http://www.pewhispanic.org/2013/01/29/a-nation-of-immigrants/ Ross, J. (2012, November 30). Achieve Act, House Bill Leave Immigration Reform Activists Unimpressed. The Huffington Post. Retrieved from http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/11/30/achieve-act-john-kyl_n_2218182.html Santa Ana, O. (1999). 'Like an Animal I was treated': anti-immigrant metaphor in US public discourse. Discourse & Society. 10(2), 191-224.

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Sen. Hutchison Discusses Her ACHIEVE Act on Fox Business with Gerri Willis [Video file]. Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hM0Viell0lI Sen. Hutchison Discusses her ACHIEVE Act with Lou Dobbs on Fox Business[Video file]. Retrieved from http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gFj2qi_Lzpc Sen. Hutchison Discusses her ACHIEVE Act. [Video file]. Retrieved from http://www.yourhoustonnews.com/cypresscreek/blogs/video-sen-hutchison-discussesher-achieve-act-on-msnbc/article_04b50640-495a-11e2-8170-001a4bcf887a.html Strauss, D. (2012, November 30).Sen.-elect Flake: Achieve Act GOPs point of departure for immigration talks. The Hill. Retrieved from http://thehill.com/blogs/blog-briefingroom/news/270301-sen-elect-flake-achieve-act-gives-gop-springboard-for-immigrationreform-talks#ixzz2NYNce5mV Surez Orozco, C & Surez Orozco, M. (1995). Transformations: Migration, Family Life, and Achievement Motivation Among Latino Adolescents. California: Stanford University Press. United We Dream. (2012). United We Dream Statement on "ACHIEVE Act": Cynical Ploy, not the Solution we Need. [Press release]. Retrieved from http://unitedwedream.org/unitedwe-dream-statement-on-achieve-act-cynical-ploy-not-the-solution-we-need/ U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement. (2012) Removal Statistics. Retrieved from http://www.ice.gov/removal-statistics/ VISANOW. (2012, December 5). ACHIEVE Act Proposed by Republican Senators. VISANOW. Retrieved from visanow.com/achieve-act Welna, D. (2012, November 27). 'Achieve Act' A Republican Answer To Dream Act. National Public Radio. Retrieved from http://www.npr.org/2012/11/27/166023470/achieve-act-arepublican-answer-to-dream-act

Transcript: ACHIEVE Act Press Conference

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SH: .hh um: good morning (pause) um: hh jon kyl (.) john mccain and i. have. filed. a bill. uh called the achieve act. uh: this morning. uh >to get the ball rolling< we. know. that there are children. in our country who have been brought he:re uh-i^llegally by their parents. and: we think the-the best step that we can take to: address a>an issue that is very timely< is. to. give a. legal status. uh: that would be earned. our. achieve act. has uh three steps. first. step is a w1 visa. which is: six years if you are going to college or pursuing uh >any kind of an advanced< or technical degree. and: you can also: be a w1 visa holder and: >serve four years in the military<. step two: would be:: after you have achieved a degree of. some. sort. of. or uh >technical degree< >or served in the military< you would get a w2 visa? which would be: four years of work capability. and then. step three would be: the w3 visa .hh which would be ren^ewable every four years uh ^if you comply: with all of the terms. the ^eligible. children. would be those brought here >before they were 14< and: if they are under the age of 28. (.) um jon kyl and I. and john mccain worked on this for. over a year. weve had others:. give us input >very va^luable input< um ive talked to several of my colleagues on the house si:de ah-about this approach=were not saying that this is the: end all. be all. but were saying that there is a very time sensitive issue of these young people who have gone to: >schoo:ls in America<. >have graduated from an American high school< really they know: no other country and:: they. want to go to college and be a part of our system. and we think the: best thing that we can do to utilize. uh their talents and the education they have recei:ved is to give them a legal st^atus and have them earn: their way into a permanent legal status I just want to say: >before I turn it over to senator kyl< this doesnt change the law as it is today. in that. if they decide they want a green card. or they want to: >get into the citizenship track< they can do that under todays law there is. no cha:nge in the requirements they will not get in front of the ^line they will get in the back of the line. theyre not kept from getting that citizenship track nor are they given a preference in that. citizenship track with that let me turn it over to my colleague senator kyl SK: thank you kay. and I- I wanna begin by. thanking kay for her leadership in this it is literally. almost exactly a year ago: that uh sen Hutchinson came into my office and said. look. weve both been interested in this issue we come from states where there are a lot of folks who. uh: suffer under the uncertainty of being here ^illegally but who: have a good case to be made for a legal status.

Transcript: ACHIEVE Act Press Conference

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lets work on it(.) and uh her staff and mine. and the two of us have worked for a long time then(.) uh of course my colleague john mccain I have been talking with regularly and. marco rubio: uh: who: we knew would be a leader in this(.) effort was: very helpful in >helping us to modify some of the provisions that we had originally thought we would put in the legislation< and uh and to his credit incidentally. he: and senator Hutchison have uh: made quite an outreach effort to >talk to a lot of other folks< which uh senator rubio told me last night he was gonna continue to do. and were gonna have to count on people like uh: senator mccain: and senator rubio and others who have an interest in this issue next year because. >neither of us are going to be here?< and I: confess to you thats another reason we decided to go ahead and filed this legislation now <but there are actually two more important reasons(.) the first that uh senator Hutchison mentioned> >we have to get this ball rolling< we have to get a discussion that is sensible. that is calm. that discusses >all of the different aspects of the issue< and: this particular part of immigration reform seemed a logical place to begin. both because of the fact that there is a time clock ticking for the people that are directly >the benefi:ciaries of this legislation< and. secondly because: uh >in a related way< the administration has unfortunately chosen to in: one phrase. taken the law into its own hands choosing to ignore current law because it didnt think it was good p^olicy and therefore creating a uh special status in fact if not de jure for this group of people (.) those of us who(.) strongly believe in the rule of law believe that in our country if you dont like the law(.) change it. or seek to change it. dont violate it. for a civilian thats called civil disobedience for the president. >its called violating __ of office< and we dont think its a good idea for the president to be put in a position where: he says >the only way that I can help this people< is not enforce law that congress passed and one of my predecessor signed (.) so: if you dont like the way it is(.) you dont thnink its fair then youll have to change it to conform the law to what is the right policy and to that extent we are introducing this legislation which is not dissimilar from what the president has done. de facto as a way for righting the situation. but d-doing it in the right way mainly <to change the law> (.) a final point that id like to make here. when uh: and-and and- e-essentially >if I can just summarize this< <what were basically saying is> if you wanna go to school whatever kind of a school will prepare you for a good job

Transcript: ACHIEVE Act Press Conference

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and if you-you have a job and you keep a job and you dont uh dont get into trouble in this country youre gonna be here for the rest of your life with a legal status. and no path to citizenship is denied you under here(.) as a practical matter. uh most of the- the- by definition these are young people realistically young people frequently get married(.) in this country the biggest marriage pool are. ^us citizens ((smiles)) .hh a us citizen can petition for a spouse to become a citizen in a very short period of time (.) (hh) around a year (.) so I dont think its any big secret that a lot of people who might participate in this program are going to have a very quick path to citizenship (.) ^if thats the path that uh that uh they choose. he employment path is another way (.) my point here being that this is not relegating people to some ((extends arm out)) uh desert island here unable to participate in the civic affairs of our nation. at all >and its certainly not intended to be< quite the opposite so we think this is a good way to begin the discussion. we hope our colleagues will do so: and uh to the extent that we are able to do so from ^the ^outside >senator Hutchison and I will hope to be involved in that debate<(.) starting next year as well