AAG 2013: Paper Presentation on The Geography of Immigration Policy

I’m immensely lucky to have my dear friend, Marisol Ramos, presenting a paper on our behalf at the American Association of Geographers Conference in Los Angeles, California this week..

Marisol and I originally met over Twitter in 2008, when she invited me to the United We Dream convening in Washington D.C. Screen Shot 2013-04-09 at 9.33.31 AMAt that time, social media was not widely used by undocumented youth to “come out” and tell their stories, or even to organize. This paper is about the many rich, uneven and multi-varied geographies that undocumented youth have used to create movements for change. And who better to write and present than people who have been involved in bringing about some of the changes.

Undocumented and Unafraid: Re-casting undocumented youth through activist spaces is part of the Paper Session: The Geography of Immigration Policy / Contentious Politics in the Obama Years, A Critical Assessment I

scheduled on Tuesday, 4/9/2013 at 8:00 AM. 

Author(s): Marisol Ramos* – University of Michigan, Ann Arbor; Prerna Lal – George Washington University Law

Abstract: Since the first introduction of the federal Dream Act in 2001, undocumented youth have organized at the “grassroots” level throughout the U.S. While the “Dream Act” has failed to pass, the federated and statewide legal geographies have become more complex leading to often restrictive political effects. This paper charts multi-dimensional geography of resistance displayed by undocumented youth in the United States, in their quest for immigration status. Over the past decade, undocumented youth have organized locally and nationally by coming out of the shadows, occupying hegemonic spaces such as political offices and detention centers, and taken to social media to not just share their narratives, but also organize a movement. By mapping this geography of resistance, and describing the geographical factors that influence local organizing efforts, we are better able to identify spaces for the empowerment of a disenfranchised population and spaces that allow for intervention in the hegemonic narrative of the nation-state.

I chose to go to law school over finishing a PhD program in Geography. I do not regret it as my work helps so many people, but I’ve certainly missed out on a richer, more intellectual environment that is probably more suitable for my introverted personality.

That’s all I can write for now. It is last week of law school classes and I have five other papers to write before May 1.

All the best Marisol!

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