A nation of immigrants : DACA, migrant precarity, and the national imagination
Jeffrey James Gustaveson
May 9, 2018
Department or Program
This project examines the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, an Obama-era immigration policy that provided temporary work permits for a particular set of young, undocumented migrants. I am interested in the ways that DACA became a site where “the nation” was debated, articulated, formed, and contested. Public discourses about DACA are not just about immigration policy: they are doing important political work in the reproduction of the national imaginary. To uncover the nature of that work, I pose the following question: How did discourses in the national print media surrounding the rollout of DACA interact with, (re)produce, and/or contest the boundaries of the American “nation”? Paying particular attention to the ways in which narratives about migrant assimilation interacted with race, precarity, and legal status, I analyze a set of articles published in the New York Times in order to interrogate how a “common sense” understanding of the nation was reproduced.