Challenging "Americans Are Dreamers, Too": Undocumented Youths' Queer and Feminist Coalition Politics

Document Type


Publication Date



Women's and Gender Studies



Publication Title



Intersectional binaries of innocence and culpability, deservedness and unworthiness, vulnerability and threat again dominate contemporary U.S. immigration controversies. Deployed across the political spectrum, these debates tiredly explore whether a pathway to citizenship for undocumented youth, dubbed Dreamers, will incentivize future groups to migrate without authorization, undercutting supposedly worthy American citizens already vulnerable socioeconomic rights. Building from immigration justice scholarship exploring both the transformative and exclusionary effects of the Dreamers activist tactics, this article investigates how the youth have negotiated this positioning since 2009. It performs a discourse analysis of self-proclaimed undocumented, queer and unafraid activists manifestos, student publications, organizational talking points, direct actions, conference calls, and art to assess how they simultaneously engage with and challenge narratives of exceptionalism and vulnerability. The activists pull apart binaries of deserving and undeserving migrants and create queer and feminist coalitions based on precarity by (1) exposing how the roots and impacts of migration are embedded in systems of transnational vulnerability; (2) aligning migrants with marginalized citizens of color by invoking histories of racialized injustice to reveal the political impossibilities promised in the exceptionalist rhetoric of the American Dream; and (3) leveraging their sympathetic status to expose the human rights and legal violations ostensibly less deserving unauthorized migrants face.


For more information on the published version, visit ProQuest's Website.

Full text currently unavailable.