Family Activism: Immigrant Struggles and the Politics of Noncitizenship

By Amalia Pallares | Go to book overview

CONCLUSION
Moving Beyond the Boundaries

I am an act ofkneading, ofuniting and joining that not only has produced
both a creature of darkness and a creature oflight, but also a creature that
questions the definitions oflight and darkness and gives them new meanings.

—Gloria Anzaldua, Borderlands/La Frontera

In July 2013, a meme circulated on Facebook with a picture of Congressman Luis Gutierrez stating that reform cannot only include youth—that is, it also has to include the parents. This was a direct reference to a debate in the House over whether nonyouth should have a path to legalization and an existing Senate bill that would include over half of the undocumented, but would render others ineligible. In the context of policy discussions in which all amendments were seeking to enforce more and curtail legalization as well as provide no significant expansion to family visas, Gutierrez’s statement sounded progressive, inclusive, and urgent, a reminder to many in the movement that the struggle was for a much larger universe than what Congress was willing to consider—a push for more inclusion. Several activists, many of them youth, posted this meme that particular week, as it became clear that the battle in the House for any broadly inclusive legalization would be extraordinarily difficult, and that, at most, there would be some version of the DREAM Act that included only youth. “Parents” in this instance represented the push for the inclusion of a larger undocumented community.

Barely three years earlier, this meme with its exact wording would have been viewed as oppositional by youth activists who were seeking passage of the DREAM Act in a context in which a bill for comprehensive immigration reform (CIR), while promised by President Obama, was clearly not politically viable. The youth had been waiting since before Obama’s election, as the larger, more established immigrant rights organizations organized in Reform Immigration

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