Shifting Boundaries: Immigrant Youth Negotiating National, State, and Small-Town Politics
As politicians debate how to address the estimated eleven million unauthorized immigrants residing in the United States, undocumented youth anxiously await the next policy shift that will determine their futures. From one day to the next, their dreams are as likely to crumble around them as to come within reach. In Shifting Boundaries, Alexis M. Silver sheds light on the currents of exclusion and incorporation that characterize their lives. Silver examines the experiences of immigrant youth growing up in a small town in North Carolina—a state that experienced unprecedented growth in its Latino population in the 1990s and 2000s, and where aggressive anti-immigration policies have been enforced. Drawing on ethnographic fieldwork and in-depth interview data, she finds that contradictory policies at the national, state, and local levels interact to create a complex environment through which the youth must navigate. From heritage-based school programs to state-wide bans on attending community college; from the failure of the DREAM Act to the rescinding of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA); each layer represents profound implications for undocumented Latino youth. Silver exposes the constantly changing pathways that shape their journeys into early adulthood—and the profound resilience that they develop along the way.
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