This article serves to explore the burden placed on recipients of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) since the program’s conception in 2012. The rhetoric of DACA has consistently expected recipients to move away from their native countries and identities in order to assimilate. Following the rhetoric of the 2016 election and current Trump administration, rhetoric has been used to criminalize several immigrant groups. I contend that DACA recipients carry what Jose Munoz refers to as the “burden of liveness,” in which they “perform” nationality in response to the majoritarian group. DACA recipients are expected to perform perfection, in order to obtain DACA and keep basic human rights. Drawing upon Munoz’ theories, and Kenneth Burke’s identification theory, I analyze the DREAM Act: Hearing Before the Subcommittee on Immigration, Refugees and Border Security, the bills S. 1615 and H.R. 1468, and former Attorney General Jeff Sessions’ remarks on rescinding DACA. Finally, I discuss the ways that DACA recipients use the “burden of liveness” as a means of resistance, in order to change the culture from within.

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Faculty Mentor

Dr. Dora Ramirez