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The Rhetorics of US Immigration

Identity, Community, Otherness

Edited by E. Johanna Hartelius

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312 pages
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2015

The Rhetorics of US Immigration

Identity, Community, Otherness

Edited by E. Johanna Hartelius

“In its careful analysis of the rhetoric surrounding immigration, The Rhetorics of US Immigration astutely links historical and current rhetorical strategies to shed light on the complexity of an increasingly polarized public debate. This work gives readers pertinent examples for practical application in rhetorically shaping how immigration is discussed and ultimately addressed politically.”

 

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  • Bio
  • Table of Contents
  • Sample Chapters
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In the current geopolitical climate—in which unaccompanied children cross the border in record numbers, and debates on the topic swing violently from pole to pole—the subject of immigration demands innovative inquiry. In The Rhetorics of US Immigration, some of the most prominent and prolific scholars in immigration studies come together to discuss the many facets of immigration rhetoric in the United States.

The Rhetorics of US Immigration provides readers with an integrated sense of the rhetorical multiplicity circulating among and about immigrants. Whereas extant literature on immigration rhetoric tends to focus on the media, this work extends the conversation to the immigrants themselves, among others. A collection whose own eclecticism highlights the complexity of the issue, The Rhetorics of US Immigration is not only a study in the language of immigration but also a frank discussion of who is doing the talking and what it means for the future.

From questions of activism, authority, and citizenship to the influence of Hollywood, the LGBTQ community, and the church, The Rhetorics of US Immigration considers the myriad venues in which the American immigration question emerges—and the interpretive framework suited to account for it.

Along with the editor, the contributors are Claudia Anguiano, Karma R. Chávez, Terence Check, Jay P. Childers, J. David Cisneros, Lisa M. Corrigan, D. Robert DeChaine, Anne Teresa Demo, Dina Gavrilos, Emily Ironside, Christine Jasken, Yazmin Lazcano-Pry, Michael Lechuga, and Alessandra B. Von Burg.

“In its careful analysis of the rhetoric surrounding immigration, The Rhetorics of US Immigration astutely links historical and current rhetorical strategies to shed light on the complexity of an increasingly polarized public debate. This work gives readers pertinent examples for practical application in rhetorically shaping how immigration is discussed and ultimately addressed politically.”

E. Johanna Hartelius is Assistant Professor of Communication at the University of Pittsburgh.

Contents

Acknowledgments

Introduction

E. Johanna Hartelius

Part 1 Activism and Public Campaigns

1 Facing Ghosts, God, and Nature: Affect, Naturalization, and the “No Más Cruces” Border Campaign

Terence Check and Christine Jasken

2 Faithful Sovereignty: Denationalizing Immigration Policy in the 2003 Pastoral Letter on Migration

Anne Teresa Demo

3 Protecting LGBT Migrants: The Rhetoric of Identity and the Expansion of the Prison-Industrial Complex

Karma R. Chávez

Part 2 Identity Struggles and DREAMers

4 Dropping the “I-Word”: A Critical Examination of Contemporary Immigration Labels

Claudia Anguiano

5 “American” Children’s Success and Global Competitiveness: The Racial Paradox of Bilingualism as Cultural Capital

Dina Gavrilos

6 Documenting Dreams: A Rhetorical Performance of Inclusive Citizenship and Collaborative Expertise

Yazmin Lazcano-Pry

Part 3 (Hi)stories of Exclusion

7 Constituting Enemies Through Fear: The Rhetoric of Exclusionary Nationalism in the Control of “Un-American” Immigrant Populations

Emily Ironside and Lisa M. Corrigan

8 Defining the Right Sort of Immigrant: Theodore Roosevelt and American Character

Jay P. Childers

9 Immigration as Histories of Mob-ility: Personal Storytelling in the Where Are You From? Project

Alessandra B. Von Burg

Part 4 Affect and Media Imagery

10 Battling Identity Warfare on the Imagined US/México Border: Performing Migrant Alien in Independence Day and Battle: Los Angeles

Michael Lechuga

11 Affect, Emotion, and Immigration Rhetoric, or What Happens When a Minuteman Lives with Unauthorized Immigrants?

J. David Cisneros

Afterword: Tracking the “Shifting Borders” of Identity and Otherness; Productive Complications and Ethico-Political Commitments

D. Robert DeChaine

About the Contributors

Introduction

E. Johanna Hartelius

Since 2011, the number of unaccompanied minors crossing the US-Mexico border, specifically the Rio Grande Valley, has surged to tens of thousands per year. Between October 2013 and June 2014, more than forty-seven thousand were apprehended by US customs agents, many of them under the age of thirteen. Shelter facilities are overburdened and administrators backlogged. The news media report that many of the children leave families behind to escape the violence and coercive recruitment efforts of Central American gangs. Many set out to find a parent or relative living in the United States, oftentimes without documentation. This is an international, humanitarian, political, and logistical crisis. Moreover, it is a rhetorical crisis, a matter of enduring mythologies and symbolic classifications with material consequences. The US Customs and Border Protection Agency refers to the young immigrants as “unaccompanied alien children”; the UN Refugee Agency as “children on the run.” With either label, these children illustrate the contingency of immigration on language, and the powerful rhetoric of social (civic and national) imaginaries.

This volume is principally concerned with the fundamental rhetoricity of immigration, analyzing it as a rhetorical process inventing persons and communities with respect to space and place. In this process of invention, the contributors demonstrate, immigrants are constructed as military threats, economic assets, societal burdens, or modern Ellis Island arrivals by border authorities, governmental administrators, corporate agents, and the American public. Our intent with The Rhetorics of US Immigration is to provide readers with an integrated sense of the rhetorical multiplicity circulating among and about immigrants. To this end, the volume engages a cluster of interdependent, mutually implicative, and urgent issues: the articulation of immigrant subjectivities by immigrants and nonimmigrants; the function of these subjectivities in media and popular culture; the construction of immigrant “experiences” in past and present public discourse; the role of various symbolic forms (such as narrative) in discussions about immigration; the effects of affects; and the consequences of symbolic and material fear, violence, and exclusion on immigrant and nonimmigrant communities.

The broad scope and thematic organization of The Rhetorics of US Immigration are intended to model and promote broad scholarly reflection on a topic that in the current geopolitical climate demands innovative inquiry. Further, the volume reflects both the political and cultural state of affairs of immigration rhetorics and the state of the discipline insofar as rhetoricians concerned with immigration rhetorics have selected a wide range of texts for analysis. Some of the contributors explicate the language practices that sustain prejudice, exclusion, and discrimination. They explain how public anti-immigrant sentiments not only influence deliberation and policy but more fundamentally structure immigrant experiences. Others examine mobilization efforts from immigrant communities, particularly young immigrants, rhetorically negotiating the perimeters of citizenship. Still others investigate the function of institutional authorities in immigration discourses, explicating the significance of the language choices of religious and secular leaders. Transcending epistemological and methodological differences, each contributor analyzes the particularities of a case study with two fundamental and mutually contingent assumptions: first, how the public, made up of citizens and noncitizens, talks about and mediates the topic of immigration determines the realities and lived experiences of immigrants and citizens; second, when the public negotiates the political resources at stake in this topic, we not only distinguish insider from outsider, indeed construct the difference between familiar and foreign, but identify the voices worthy of participation in deliberation and governance.

In our collaboration, the contributors to The Rhetorics of US Immigration pursue the hermeneutic potential of juxtapositioning. Extant literature on immigration rhetoric, much of which we engage throughout the volume, tends to focus singularly on media coverage, public metaphors, and presidential and activist advocacy. This body of work may be extended and complemented, we submit, by a project whose objective is the synergistic discovery of intersections. An essay examining pastoral letters as a mode of public activism precedes an essay on the conditions of detained LGBTQ immigrants because the sequential energy contains significant potential. Because the topics, grouped into units, range broadly, readers may see connections within rhetorics of immigration that are not typically evident and that have not been treated in publications with a more particular agenda. Our intention is that readers may see themes between, for example, young immigrants publicly rejecting the classification of “illegal” and Hollywood’s fictional depictions of the alien menace (Lechuga); or between affect and emotion (Cisneros) and the idea of “naturalization” as a phase of the immigration narrative (Check and Jasken); or the rhetorical resources of a historical memory (Von Burg, Childers) in which immigrants are malleable figures and migration a practice of paracitizenship. The interstices rendered by the essays’ thematic clusters represent an effort to foster readers’ capacity for inquiry and invention.

<1>Immigration Rhetorics: Language and Labels

A cohort of rhetorical scholars have in the past three decades written cogent analyses of immigration rhetorics, directing attention to many of the same issues that preoccupy and motivate The Rhetorics of US Immigration. For example, of primary concern to rhetoricians has long been the problematic representation of immigrants in official discourses and mass media. In their respective chapters, Terence Check and Christine Jasken, Anne Demo, Emily Ironside and Lisa Corrigan, J. David Cisneros, and Michael Lechuga engage related questions of institutional power and the influence of news coverage and entertainment media. Another powerfully emerging theme in immigration rhetoric literature assesses the emancipatory potential of vernacular discourses through which immigrant communities, particularly Chicana/o and Latina/o communities, self-articulate/invent, mobilize as activists, and negotiate conventional citizenship. This research has influenced most of the contributors to The Rhetorics of US Immigration, although its driving topoi may be most evident in the chapters by Karma R. Chávez, Claudia Anguiano, and Alessandra Von Burg. Central questions in these chapters and elsewhere include: How are immigrant subjectivities formed negatively and positively in response to, or beyond, the premises of media representations? What modes and performances of activism are commensurate with, and effective for, various immigrant communities? What are the prospects of cultural citizenship for democratic participation? How vulnerable are immigrant rights activists’ rhetorical strategies to dominant ideologies, and the reproduction thereof? Finally, a segment of the rhetorical scholarship on immigration centers on young immigrant communities, so-called DREAMers; this literature resonates in the chapters by Dina Gavrilos and Yazmin Lazcano-Pry.

The phrase “rhetoric of immigration” itself applies to a variety of constitutive and instrumental language practices, a few of which it may be instructive to identify.

<BL>

• It refers to conversations among those who make policy, both within the formal policymaking procedure and in the mediated process of communicating that procedure’s phases and results to the public. When the US House Homeland Security Committee passed H.R. 1417 on May 15, 2013, chairman Michael McCaul (R-TX) commented on the immigration “problem” and on the bill’s plan to “deal with” illegal immigrants, referencing multiple meanings of the phrase “rhetoric of immigration”:

<ext>

During the Committee debate, Democrats attempted to amend my bill to appropriate $3 billion up front. This is the cart before the horse. It is premature at this point in time to know what that number is. I want to know what their strategy is first. The Republican argument used to defeat this amendment underscores the difference in philosophies between liberals, who want to continue to blindly throw more money at the problem, and conservatives who want to know what the plan is, how much it will cost, and how your money will be spent. This is the kind of accountability that has been missing from Washington for too long!

<end ext>

• The “rhetoric of immigration” refers to the arguments advanced by activists, including organizations with such divergent agendas as the Federation for American Immigration Reform, NumberUSA, the Minuteman Project, the National Council of La Raza, the Southern Poverty Law Center, the American Civil Liberties Union, and Maldef. These groups participate in a more or less coordinated popular and public debate regarding policy and the immigrant experience. In the summer of 2013, following the resistance of Republican members of Congress to S. 744 (the Border Security, Economic Opportunity, and Immigration Modernization Act), thousands protested in coalitional rallies across the country; virtual networks focused their efforts on circulating information through social media. As House Republicans debated the issue, thousands gathered on Capitol Hill, holding signs that demanded, “Give Us a Vote on Citizenship!,” “Undocumented and Unafraid,” and “GOP, Rest In Peace!” Inside the Capitol Visitor Center, participants sang the national anthem and said the Pledge of Allegiance. Their exigencies, choices, and strategies in these forums are the “rhetoric of immigration.”

• The “rhetoric of immigration” entails the language of history and memory wherein citizens and noncitizens engage with the past, both real and pseudofictitious, continually reconstructing the “nation of immigrants” notion. In this sense, the “rhetoric of immigration” is generated by monuments and museums, including the Ellis Island memorial, and vice versa; it is illustrated by family heirlooms, photo albums, and the “do-it-yourself” genealogy websites that are growing in popularity. Indeed, the Ellis Island website provides extensive information about discovering and tracing family lineages through immigrant passages. The “immigrant experience” page contains a “timeline of immigration history [that] shows the forces that brought people from all over the world to America’s shores.” Here, the rhetoric of immigration is an aspect of the rhetoric of the past, with its powerful trajectories presenting circumstances and challenges.

• The label further applies to the media texts and pop culture artifacts wherein the constructs of “immigration” and “immigrant” are in continuous symbolic negotiation. Documentaries such as Farmingville, 9500 Liberty, Made in LA: Hecho en Los Angeles, and Ni Una Más examine the realities of immigration at the border as well as within the US economy and legal system. Television news magazines periodically shape the public dialogue about immigration with investigative pieces. Fictional television programs like The Bridge, Weeds, Breaking Bad, and Modern Family depict the lives of individual immigrants, perpetuating narratives of secretive and unpredictably violent criminals. Fictional films like Savages and Crash recycle this portrayal, adding to the cast the character of the immigrant in domestic service.

<end BL>

The scholars in this volume approach immigration as fundamentally rhetorical insofar as rhetoric itself is fundamental to the human condition beyond, for example, policy debates or legislation. To wit, if rhetoric is the faculty of discerning in any given situation the available means of persuasion, as Aristotle claims, then immigration is rhetorical when DREAM activists stage sit-ins and draw on the LGBTQ community’s “coming out” rhetoric. Ditto when rhetoric is a “mode of altering reality,” as in Lloyd Bitzer’s theory of rhetorical exigencies. If, per Robert Scott, Richard Cherwitz, and Barry Brummett, rhetoric is epistemic—indeed, if ways of knowing and sense making are essentially rhetorical—then knowledge claims in reference to immigration become normative public epistemology (distinguishing, for example, “terrorist” from “refugee”). Anguiano’s analysis of efforts to eradicate the label “illegal” illustrates these epistemic currents in immigration discourses. If this sense-making process is more narrative than argumentatively propositional, then, as Von Burg demonstrates, telling one’s story of migration is an articulation of self and community that serves as a point of entry for cultural engagements. Diane Davis’s instructive definition of rhetoric—or, rather, rhetoricity—as an originary “affectability or persuadability” that is the condition for symbolic action is reflected in Cisneros’s suggestion that the alterability of public affect contains some promise for progress. Thus immigration is rhetorical not only as a public exchange of arguments but insofar as it is contingent upon individual and collective language choices and symbolic realities.

<1>Exigency: The Geopolitical Moment

In the United States, the figure of “the immigrant” has long symbolically instantiated an imagined trajectory of assimilation, progress, and success. In a dialectical tension between past and present perspectives, the figure is both a target of deliberative dispute and a subject of epideictic lore. It at once animates most Americans’ family story and threatens the nation’s sovereignty, order, security, and prosperity. That immigration has been a feature of public culture for centuries is as central to the national memory as the emblematic slogan “We are a nation of immigrants.” This motif reveals how immigration experiences represent interiority and exteriority. While heritage stories passed from generation to generation intimately shape our individual and social selves, immigrants-qua-border crossers come from the outside, embodying the external in the midst of a community. Thus, while one could say that the immigrant “other” negatively delineates the citizenry, this would be reductive. Even as one considers the anti-immigrant discourses that dominate contemporary media coverage and legislative debate, to say that the American public understands immigrants as “not us” obfuscates the complexity of the issue. The “nation of immigrants” mythos constitutes the horizon for modern immigration, complicating efforts to address its challenges.

Although surveying either the history of American immigration or the implications of the immigrant nation myth would obviously be beyond the scope of any single volume, it is instructive to identify a few political and cultural developments in the historical present, which provide the fraught context for immigration and this volume’s exigency. During the spring and summer of 2014, the surge of migrant minors to the southern border states exacerbated the intensifying political debate surrounding military enforcement procedures as well as so-called deferred action policies—both interconnected and potentially significant election issues. Border state leaders, including Texas governor Rick Perry, publicly criticized the Obama administration’s management of the crisis, framing the matter as a result of weak security and indirect sanctioning of illegal activity. Advocacy for the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals initiative, announced by President Obama in June 2012, was complicated by the arrival of tens of thousands of minors; the policy allows undocumented minors to defer deportation for a period of two years. Presenting further logistical difficulties is the Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act, which mandates not only that the Department of Health and Human Services meet the health and legal needs of unaccompanied minor immigrants within seventy-two hours of their apprehension by the Border Patrol—the law was passed to protect victims of drug and sex trafficking, and most of the migrant minors come from Guatemala, Honduras, and El Salvador—but also that minors receive a formal hearing prior to deportation. Border states’ struggles to adhere to these provisions are, as this volume goes to press, contributing to political opposition in the US House of Representatives against the Border Security, Economic Opportunity, and Immigration Modernization Act of 2013 (S. 744), passed by the Senate on June 27, 2013 (see below).

The year 2013 marked the twentieth anniversary of the signing of the North American Free Trade Agreement, the largest trade bloc in the world. This economic integration, touted originally as an innovative strategy to promote transnational commerce throughout North America, has significantly shaped conditions for immigration. Beyond the scope of NAFTA’s “temporary employee” provisions, granting nonimmigrant status to certain migrant professionals—TN status (Trade NAFTA) is similar to the H1-B visa but more limited and available only to citizens of Canada and Mexico—the economy of the early 1990s meant a growing demand for unskilled labor. The then-dominant Immigration Reform and Control Act (IRCA), controversial for both its amnesty regulations and its sanctions against those who employed illegal workers, failed to provide legal avenues for immigration in response to this demand. In confluence with Mexico’s ailing domestic economy and increasingly violent climate of drug and weapon cartel competition, the result was a highly profitable industry of fraudulent identification, a network of coyotes and human traffickers, and perilous ventures in the desert terrain.

In addition, 2013 was the twentieth anniversary of the first World Trade Center bombing, in which an immigrant terrorist detonated a bomb in New York City. Coverage of the 1993 bombing inaugurated the mainstream media’s now-prevalent portrayal of immigrants, particularly Muslims and/or Arabs, as terrorists. This incriminating representation gained momentum and power after 9/11, aligning with exclusionist policies that targeted specific nationalities and ethnicities. For instance, in November 2002 the Department of Homeland Security introduced a “special registration program,” registering thousands of male noncitizens from Iran, Iraq, Libya, Sudan, Syria, and other countries of suspicion. Under this “absconder initiative,” the largest registration effort in decades, authorities detained and deported suspects, most of whom were cleared of any connection to terrorism. Despite reports of civil liberties violations, the program was deemed a success by the Justice Department until its termination in May 2003.

The increased cross-border migration generated by NAFTA, the impotence of IRCA, and the growing public support for restrictionist and isolationist policy have since the mid-1990s both prompted and served as justification for the “deterrence,” or “prevention through deterrence,” approach to immigration. This approach, which in the 1990s was institutionalized in such severely criminalizing legislation as the Antiterrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act and the Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act, is conceptually grounded in a classicist rational-choice model of criminal behavior and punishment. It operates in tandem with an enforcement-through-attrition model, penalizing individual immigrants or immigrant groups so harshly as to have a discouraging effect on other potential immigrants. Since the 2007 defeat of STRIVE (the Security Through Regularized Immigration and a Vibrant Economy Act), the deterrence approach has been reinforced by 287(g) “secure communities” programs across the country, including state-based legislation like Arizona’s Support Our Law Enforcement and Safe Neighborhoods Act (Arizona Senate bill 1070). The programs allow the states to delegate authority in immigration matters, deputizing local law enforcement. Such deputizations, and subsequent large-scale raids on vulnerable Latina/o communities, have damaged already strained relationships between law enforcement and segments of the Latina/o population, effectively systematizing fear and suspicion as living conditions and professional directives.

In the spring of 2012, the matter of undocumented immigration, law enforcement, and state and federal jurisdiction was presented to the US Supreme Court. In Arizona v. United States (11–182), the Supreme Court enjoined as preempted by federal law those sections of the controversial Arizona Senate bill 1070 that make failure to comply with federal alien-registration requirements a state misdemeanor; those sections that make it a misdemeanor for a person who is unlawfully in the United States to work or actively seek work; and those that authorize warrantless arrests when a law enforcement official has probable cause to believe that the person to be arrested has committed such a crime as would be punishable by removal from the United States. Especially contentious was section 2(B), which empowers Arizona law enforcement officers to determine the immigration status of a person who has been detained or arrested “where reasonable suspicion exists that the person is an alien and is unlawfully present in the United States.” On this point, the Court chose not to enjoin before state courts could determine enforcement procedures and implications. Arizona Senate bill 1070, which has inspired similar “attrition through enforcement” laws in other states, had already been ruled unconstitutional by Judge Susan Bolton in the US District Court, a ruling that was upheld by the US Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit. Significantly, and although vocal public criticism of Arizona’s law has focused heavily on implications for racial profiling and the climate of fear in the Latina/o community, race was explicitly not at issue in the Supreme Court oral arguments on April 25, 2012.

A year after the Supreme Court’s decision on Arizona’s contested enforcement practices, the US Senate passed S. 744 (the Border Security, Economic Opportunity, and Immigration Modernization Act). The sponsors, the “Gang of Eight,” were commended for their bipartisan efforts; the bill was characterized in the media as a multifaceted composition, including humanitarian protections of immigrants’ civil rights. It institutes a Department of Homeland Security task force for border oversight and an “Ombudsman for Immigration and Related Concerns with a background in both immigration law and civil and human rights,” and mandates “distress beacons” in the border regions’ most treacherous and deadly terrains. Nevertheless, S. 744 and the House of Representatives’ counterproposal, the Border Security Results Act (H.R. 1417), emphasize security and border enforcement. The primary objectives of “situational awareness” and “operational control” identify surveillance and deterrence as the guiding principles of immigration policy at the border and beyond. These principles are backed in the bills by considerable budget allocations and reporting mandates. Neither initiative, however, devotes resources to policing transnational cartels smuggling weapons, humans, money, or drugs in both directions, a strategy experts have advocated as far more effective than seemingly “tough” enforcement legislation.

Surveying the economic and political developments that make up the current context for immigration, it is important to acknowledge a somewhat different cultural movement, centered on the so-called DREAM Act. This bill, originally introduced by Dick Durbin (D-IL) and Orrin Hatch (R-UT) in 2001, incorporated partially in reform bills from 2005 to 2007, and reintroduced in 2009 and 2010, redirects public discourse and, potentially, policy on immigration matters insofar as it focuses on a specific class of immigrants. The most recent drafts would provide legal but conditional residency and the opportunity for eventual citizenship for undocumented immigrants who came to the United States at age fifteen or younger upon graduation from a US high school, receipt of a GED, acceptance to college, or enlistment in the armed forces. A community of young immigrants, DREAMers, has mobilized in support of this legislation, not only embodying and animating the fuzzy statistics of undocumented minors but enacting a new iteration of a rhetorical convention in political advocacy: self-labeling. Announcing publicly their lack of resident status in rallies, courtrooms, protests, and forums, DREAMers demand that policymakers confront the inadequacy of the long dominant but rarely acknowledged “we’re not sure what to do with you” model. Rejecting invisibility motivated by fear, they represent a kind of first-generation rhetoric of immigration grounded in the articulation of civic subjectivity.

<1>Overview

The essays in part 1, “Activism and Public Campaigns,” survey public activism and advocacy campaigns, particularly those revealing the imminent dangers immigrants face. They examine the rhetorical negotiation of authority within immigration debates and attempt to explicate the epistemological implications of these rhetorical practices.

Terence Check and Christine Jasken analyze the use of appeals to fear and religious imagery in the US Customs and Border Protection Agency’s 2004 public service campaign “No Más Cruces en la Frontera” (No More Crossing the Border/No More Cemetery Crosses on the Border). Focusing on three television advertisements depicting the dangers of border crossing, they demonstrate how certain enthymematic appeals not only empower the viewer as a co-creator of his or her own persuasion but invest the texts with divine authority: the border is deadly, and those who have died extend their caution from the grave; God disapproves of border crossings, and those who defy his will suffer the brutality of the nature (desert, heat, cold, wildlife, etc.) that he has put in place. Check and Jasken propose that the campaign, via Burkean scapegoating, places the blame for the deaths of thousands of Mexican migrants on the migrants themselves, who choose a risky and God-defying venture; this scapegoating rhetorically absolves US border authorities, policymakers, and citizens.

Anne Teresa Demo extends scholarship on immigration rhetorics by reaching beyond the predominant nationalization of the issue and beyond the authority of secular institutions. Analyzing the 2003 pastoral letter on migration, “Strangers No Longer,” issued jointly by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops and the Conferencia del Episcopado Mexicano, Demo explains how an emphasis on hemispheric solidarity, and a reconception of human dignity and rights, sanctioned by divine rather than national authority, denationalizes immigration. The letter, Demo argues, challenges national sovereignty, specifically and by implication in that it subordinates the state’s prerogative to exclude migrating persons to migrating persons’ right to dignity as this right is realized in the pursuit of a living wage. Demo’s chapter responds instructively to calls in rhetorical studies to move the analysis of immigration discourses beyond the conservative politico-economic paradigm sustaining border militarization.

In chapter 3, Karma R. Chávez analyzes a set of petitions to the Department of Homeland Security filed in 2011 by the National Immigrant Justice Center, Lambda Legal, and congressional representatives on behalf of LGBT migrants who, while detained within the militarized immigration enforcement system, experienced physical, sexual, and psychological abuse. She explains that while the petitions appear to speak on behalf of a “vulnerable population” in a potentially emancipating or progressive initiative, this potential is circumscribed by deep-seated assumptions about sexuality, criminality, race, and class. The petitioners’ rhetorical strategies warrant close attention, particularly insofar as they affirm the criminal status of immigrants and individualize systemic problems, attributing violence inside detention facilities to “bad apple” guards and officials. Chávez argues that as a function of the petition format and the rhetorical choices made by the petitioners, the LGBT identity is reified as a subset of a class in need of individual advocacy and protection. Chávez’s conceptual critique explicates symbolic and material similarities and intersections between categories commonly thought of as distinct: migrants and LGBT/queer populations, immigration enforcement and the prison industrial complex, liberal activism and the reification of identity essentialism.

Building on part 1’s analysis of authority, the essays in part 2, “Identity Struggles and DREAMers,” examine how young immigrants negotiate identity within various institutions, especially schools and youth programs. They do so in relation to recent legislative efforts, specifically the DREAM (Development, Relief, and Education for Alien Minors) Act. They explore the implications of social class for second-generation immigrants, and reflect on the dialectical tension between publicity, or public recognition, and invisibility as features of young people’s public deliberation.

Claudia Anguiano’s chapter analyzes youth activism that targets a reconceptualization of the terminology of immigrants’ legal status. Anguiano contributes to prevailing and limited perceptions of this controversy by demonstrating how the “Drop the I-Word” campaign effectively deconstructs the inaccuracies and dehumanizing and racist implications of visa- and/or citizenship-related labels. Further, she describes the rhetorical strategies of so-called DREAMers, young undocumented immigrants eligible for relief under the DREAM Act. Noting how young activists have shifted the public conversation about their identity from legality to a student-centeredness, have embraced and capitalized on the symbolic connotations of being a “DREAMer,” and have co-opted the idea of being “undocumented” (and unafraid), Anguiano illustrates a generational rhetorical agency and political subjectivity.

Dina Gavrilos investigates the ideology of education policy and implementation via what she calls a cultural paradox: the recent rise in popularity of foreign-language programs for white primary school students and the simultaneous rise of English-only curricula limiting immigrant students’ access to English supplemental tutoring and instruction in their native languages. Explicating the racism and classism sustaining this paradox, Gavrilos situates it in the United States’ history of language instruction with nationalist, imperialist, and colonialist motives. She juxtaposes media coverage of white students’ academic success, attributed to bilingual proficiency and the cognitive and socioeconomic benefits thereof, with nonwhite immigrant students’ “language barriers,” repeatedly framed in public debates about education models as obstacles to both intellectual excellence and professional opportunity.

Yazmin Lazcano-Pry looks at the intersection of the concepts of rhetorical citizenship and collaborative expertise to examine the agency and civic engagement enacted by young undocumented immigrants. Analyzing a collection of letters in which undocumented youths at GateWay Early College High School in Phoenix, Arizona, thank donors for their financial support of students’ college-level course work, Lazcano-Pry explicates the efficacy of asserting one’s voice from a precarious position, one fraught with legal and cultural threats. She argues that the GateWay students’ and principal’s co-construction of expertise in Documented Dreams ought to be interpreted as complicating the concept of citizenship beyond reductive binaries (legal/illegal, citizen/noncitizen). With this approach to undocumented youths’ symbolic presence and production, she joins the scholarly effort to understand the dialectic of rhetorical agency and citizenship.

The essays in part 3, “(Hi)stories of Exclusion,” offer a historical perspective on the rhetorical processes that enable the social, political, economic, and cultural exclusion of immigrants from American public life. At stake in these essays is the complexity of “citizenship.” The cultural exclusionary force of a negative definition is an important function of this fraught term—much of its history may be seen as a series of what citizenship is not. Thus the authors in part 3 are concerned with the construction and manipulation of the concept of citizenship, partly to include and define the “good” citizen, but principally to exclude “others” from democratic access.

Emily Ironside and Lisa M. Corrigan organize the nineteenth and twentieth centuries’ history of American immigration conceptually around “exclusionary nationalism.” Analyzing the concept’s integration of the topoi of assimilation, racism, xenophobia, and classism, they explicate certain patterns in the rhetoric of policymaking. These patterns, they explain, recur through the immigrant experiences of, for example, Mexican laborers and Japanese internment subjects. Moreover, anti-immigrant policymakers define, through exclusive and nativist narratives, the perennially powerful ideals of Americanness, nationalism, and citizenship. Against these narratives and their implications for immigrants’ place in the American polis, Ironside and Corrigan advise activists, particularly those participating in the movement for undocumented youths’ civic rights, to break rhetorically with the identity premises of the dominant national discourse.

Jay P. Childers traces the still politically potent delineation of the “right kind” and “wrong kind” of immigrant to President Theodore Roosevelt’s speeches, specifically his rhetorical “balancing act” during a time of significant civil unrest. Childers explicates Roosevelt’s rhetorical deployment of such tropes as individual character and successful assimilation; he argues that while Roosevelt ultimately neither endorsed nor vilified immigrants, and although he distinguished immigrants’ fitness for citizenship from their religion and language, his rhetorical presentation of American values effectively dissolved the popular notion that nationality constituted the major difference between citizens and noncitizens. The realization of Roosevelt’s American idealism, Childers explains, conflated the administration of citizenship with the arbitration of individual character.

Alessandra B. Von Burg provides a theoretical framing of memory, particularly the rhetorical utility of memory for managing immigration conflicts innovatively. She advocates a model that transcends the citizen/noncitizen binary: the Where Are You From? Project, a video collection of first-person narratives gathered in a collaboration between Wake Forest University and the North Carolina Humanities Council, reconceptualizes immigration as “stories of mobility.” Turning to this initiative as a case study, Von Burg identifies critical parallels between contemporary and historical immigrants’ stories in order to facilitate peaceful and democratic engagement. Calling attention to the “othering” of immigrants, who live and work among American citizens, Von Burg suggests strategies for a “renovation” of negative classifications to overcome the systematic marginalization of immigrants.

Part 4, “Affect and Media Imagery,” is dedicated to the production and circulation of immigration in popular culture. The authors concentrate primarily on film and television, analyzing the ways in which mainstream media supply the public with certain interpretive frameworks and scripts for social action, simultaneously constraining the potential for alternative frameworks and actions. A central concern in part 4 is the function of mediated emotion and affect. As the authors note, the rhetorical construction, or representation, of immigrants is designed to elicit strong emotions in target audiences. Furthermore, the essays examine the media’s capacity to enable the public’s imagination, and identify imagination, or reimagination, as a rhetorical strategy for political change.

Michael Lechuga situates Hollywood’s cinematic portrayals of alien others in the Burkean poetic categories of the epic, tragic, comic, satirical, and burlesque; further, drawing on the frames of acceptance and rejection, he analyzes the dialectical relationship implied analogously between the extraterrestrial and the Mexican immigrant, and the US solider and the patriotic citizen and nation-state, respectively. Building on the rhetorical notion of the border, consisting of the complexities of borderlands and border identities, Lechuga instructively takes up D. Robert DeChaine’s important program, and explicates the implications of popular media rhetorics for public militaristic orientations toward immigration. He advocates reconceiving this liminal space, focusing on its possibilities for performing disidentification.

J. David Cisneros assesses possibilities for challenging the emotionally and affectively charged immigration debate, analyzing “Immigration,” an episode of 30 Days, a Morgan Spurlock reality TV series that aired from 2005 to 2008. By examining a text that shifts what he calls an “emotional habitus” that structures public discourse on immigration from fear and anger to compassion and friendship, he indicates that moving beyond reductive anti-immigrant sentiment is possible. Significantly, however, Cisneros also demonstrates that widely circulating attitudes about the program impeded its progressive or subversive potential, entrenching dominant emotions and affects. The disruptive potential, Cisneros argues, was compromised by the “stickiness” of the familiar mode of public feeling that underlies immigration conflicts.

<1>Definitions and Hopes

As an immigrant, you are defined by your movement from one place to another. This, of course, is a rhetorical process with much at stake. Indeed, you are less defined by your movement than constructed by the cultural circumstances of your departure and arrival. Are you a refugee, migrant laborer, or highly skilled visiting worker? Are you assimilating with enthusiasm, embracing new ways of life in the land of opportunity? Are you participating in the subcultures of urban or rural immigrant enclaves? Who were you when you left whatever it was that you left, and who are you now? And what do your answers to these questions mean for you, for me, and for us?

In Border Rhetorics, a collection of important essays already cited above several times, D. Robert DeChaine focuses on how, “in the context of the U.S. nation-state, borders and border symbolism are formative in shaping public understandings of citizenship and identity.” DeChaine orients his project in relation to literature on immigration and borders by noting, first, that “a rhetorical border studies offers scholars, critics, and activists useful strategies for investigating the array of linguistic, visual, and aural resources through which understandings of citizenship, national identity, belonging, and otherness are publicly negotiated,” and, second, that “common among all of the contributors’ engagements is our decisive turn from borders to bordering—a reorientation in analysis from descriptive accounts of status forms to critical interrogations of dynamic, power-laden enactments.” With the present volume, in which several of the same scholars appear, we hope to enact and extend DeChaine’s vision of what a rhetorical analysis might contribute to the ongoing study of immigration. We hope, moreover, to respond to his call for an ethico-political scholarly stance. As he notes in the afterword to the present volume, “studying immigration and border rhetorics involves, or should involve, an orientation toward a horizon of social justice, a motivation that presses beyond mere explanation to a critical engagement with discourses of power.”

<N>Notes

1. Amanda Sakuma, “Influx of Unaccompanied Child Migrants Exposes Strained System,” MSNBC, June 3, 2014, http://www.msnbc.com/msnbc/child-immigrants-strained-system.

2. Joel Millman and Miriam Jordan, “Flow of Unaccompanied Minors Tests U.S. Immigration Agencies,” Wall Street Journal, January 29, 2014, http://online.wsj.com/news/articles/SB10001424052702303743604579351143226055538; Julia Preston, “U.S. Setting Up Emergency Shelter in Texas as Youths Cross Border Alone,” New York Times, May 16, 2014, http://www.nytimes.com/2014/05/17/us/us-sets-up-crisis-shelter-as-children-flow-across-border-alone.html.

3. US Customs and Border Protection, “Southwest Border Unaccompanied Alien Children,” http://www.cbp.gov/newsroom/stats/southwest-border-unaccompanied-children, accessed September 5, 2014.

4. UNHCR: The UN Refugee Agency, “Children on the Run,” http://unhcrwashington.org/children/background-materials, accessed September 5, 2014.

5. Vanessa B. Beasley, Who Belongs in America? Presidents, Rhetoric, and Immigration (College Station: Texas A&M University Press, 2006); J. David Cisneros, “Contaminated Communities: The Metaphor of ‘Immigrant as Pollutant’ in Media Representations of Immigration,” Rhetoric and Public Affairs 11 (2008): 569–601; Anne Demo, “Sovereignty Discourse and Contemporary Immigration Politics,” Quarterly Journal of Speech 91 (2005): 291–311; Lisa A. Flores, “Constructing Rhetorical Borders: Peons, Illegal Aliens, and Competing Narratives of Immigration,” Critical Studies in Media Communication 20 (2003): 362–87; E. Johanna Hartelius, “Face-ing Immigration: Prosopopeia and the ‘Muslim-Arab-Middle Eastern’ Other,” Rhetoric Society Quarterly 43 (2013): 311–34; Hugh Mehan, “The Discourse of the Illegal Immigration Debate: A Case Study in the Politics of Representation,” Discourse and Society 8 (1997): 249–70; Otto Santa Ana, Brown Tide Rising: Metaphors of Latinos in Contemporary American Public Discourse (Austin: University of Texas Press, 2002).

6. Hector Amaya, “Performing Acculturation: Rewriting the Latina/o Immigrant Self,” Text and Performance Quarterly 27 (2007): 194–212; Bernadette Marie Calafell, “Disrupting the Dichotomy: ‘Yo Soy Chicana/o?’ in the New Latina/o South,” Communication Review 7 (2004): 175–204; Karma R. Chávez, “Exploring the Defeat of Arizona’s Marriage Amendment and the Specter of the Immigrant as Queer,” Southern Communication Journal 74 (2009): 314–24; Karma R. Chávez, “Border (In)Securities: Normative and Differential Belonging in LGBTQ and Immigrant Rights Discourse,” Communication and Critical/Cultural Studies 7 (2010): 136–55; Karma R. Chávez, “Counter-Public Enclaves and Understanding the Function of Rhetoric in Social Movement Coalition-Building,” Communication Quarterly 59 (2011): 1–18; Fernando P. Delgado, “Chicano Ideology Revisited: Rap Music and the (Re)articulation of Chicanismo,” Western Journal of Communication 62 (1998): 95–113; Lisa A. Flores, “Creating Discursive Space Through a Rhetoric of Difference: Chicana Feminists Craft a Homeland,” Quarterly Journal of Speech 82 (1996): 142–56; Lisa A. Flores and Mary Ann Villarreal, “Mobilizing for National Inclusion: The Discursivity of Whiteness Among Texas Mexicans’ Arguments for Desegregation,” in Border Rhetorics: Citizenship and Identity on the US-Mexico Frontier, ed. D. Robert DeChaine (Tuscaloosa: University of Alabama Press, 2012), 86–100; Michelle A. Holling, “A Dispensational Rhetoric in ‘The Mexican Question in the Southwest,’” in DeChaine, Border Rhetorics, 65–85; Michelle A. Holling and Bernadette Marie Calafell, “Identities on Stage and Staging Identities: ChicanoBrujo Performances as Emancipatory Practices,” Text and Performance Quarterly 27 (2007): 58–83.

7. Lisa A. Flores and Marouf A. Hasian Jr., “Returning to Aztlán and La Raza: Political Communication and the Vernacular Construction of Chicano/a Nationalism,” in International and Intercultural Communication, Annual Volume XX: Politics, Communication, and Culture, ed. Alberto Gonzalez and Dolores V. Tanno (Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage, 1997), 186–203; Richard D. Pineda and Stacey K. Sowards, “Flag Waving as Visual Argument: 2006 Immigration Demonstrations and Cultural Citizenship,” Argumentation and Advocacy 43 (2007): 164–74.

8. See works cited above and J. David Cisneros, “Looking ‘Illegal’: Affect, Rhetoric, and Performativity in Arizona’s Senate Bill 1070,” in DeChaine, Border Rhetorics, 133–50; Monisha Das Gupta, Unruly Immigrants (Durham: Duke University Press, 2006); Toby Miller, “The Ragpicker-Citizen,” in DeChaine, Border Rhetorics, 213–26.

9. Beth Baker-Cristales, “Mediated Resistance: The Construction of Neoliberal Citizenship in the Immigrant Rights Movement,” Latino Studies 7 (2009): 60–82; Michelle A. Holling, “Forming Oppositional Social Concord to California’s Proposition 187 and Squelching Social Discord in the Vernacular Space of CHICLE,” Communication and Critical/Cultural Studies 3 (2006): 202–22; Bernadette Marie Calafell and Fernando P. Delgado, “Reading Latina/o Images: Interrogating Americanos,” Critical Studies in Media Communication 21 (2004): 1–21; Kent A. Ono and John M. Sloop, Shifting Borders: Rhetoric, Immigration, and California’s Proposition 187 (Philadelphia: Temple University Press, 2002); Kent A. Ono and John M. Sloop, “The Critique of Vernacular Discourse,” Communication Monographs 62 (1995): 20–46.

10. Claudia A. Anguiano and Karma R. Chávez, “DREAMers’ Discourse: Young Latino/a Immigrants and the Naturalization of the American Dream,” in Latina/o Discourse in Vernacular Spaces: Somos de una Voz?, ed. Michelle A. Holling and Bernadette M. Calafell (Lanham, MD: Lexington Books, 2011), 81–99; Karma R. Chávez, Queer Migration Politics (Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 2013). Beyond rhetorical studies, see also René Galindo, “Undocumented and Unafraid: The DREAM Act 5 and the Public Disclosure of Undocumented Status as a Political Act,” Urban Review 44, no. 5 (2012): 589–611; Hinda Seif, “‘Wise Up!’ Undocumented Latino Youth, Mexican-American Legislators, and the Struggle for Higher Education Access,” Latino Studies 2 (2004): 210–30; Hinda Seif, “‘Unapologetic and Unafraid’: Immigrant Youth Come Out from the Shadows,” New Directions for Child and Adolescent Development 134 (2011): 59–75.

11. Texas Insider, “Cong. Michael McCaul Pushing Border Security Bill as Chairman of the U.S. House Homeland Security Committee,” May 24, 2013, http://www.texasinsider.org/michael-mccaul-chairman-of-the-u-s-house-homeland-security-committee/.

12. Statue of Liberty–Ellis Island Foundation, “The Immigrant Experience,” http://www.ellisisland.org/Immexp/index.asp.

13. In her thoughtful analysis of coalitional politics, Karma Chávez describes how the DREAM movement uses queer activism as a resource, including the rhetorical tactics of the “coming-out” logos. Chávez, Queer Migration Politics, 80–81. She juxtaposes the coming-out metaphors of sexuality (the closet) and legal status (the shadows).

14. Lloyd Bitzer, “The Rhetorical Situation,” Philosophy and Rhetoric 1 (1968): 4.

15. Barry Brummett, “A Eulogy for Epistemic Rhetoric,” Quarterly Journal of Speech 76 (1990): 69–72; Richard A. Cherwitz, “Rhetoric as a Way of Knowing: An Attenuation of the Epistemological Claims of the New Rhetoric,” Southern Speech Communication Journal 42 (1977): 207–19; Richard A. Cherwitz and James Hikins, Communication and Knowledge: An Investigation in Rhetorical Epistemology (Columbia: University of South Carolina Press, 1986); Robert L. Scott, “On Viewing Rhetoric as Epistemic,” Central States Speech Journal 18 (1967): 9–17; Robert L. Scott, “On Viewing Rhetoric as Epistemic: Ten Years Later,” Central States Speech Journal 27 (1976): 258–66; Robert L. Scott, “Epistemic Rhetoric and Criticism: Where Barry Brummett Goes Wrong,” Quarterly Journal of Speech 76 (1990): 300–303.

16. See Walter R. Fisher, “Narration as Human Communication Paradigm: The Case of Public Moral Argument,” Communication Monographs 51 (1984): 1–22.

17. Diane Davis, Inessential Solidarity: Rhetoric and Foreigner Relations (Pittsburgh: University of Pittsburgh Press, 2010), 2 (emphasis in original).

18. Readers may gain a useful and up-to-date introduction to the extensive literature on American immigration from Richard Alba and Victor Nee, Remaking the American Mainstream: Assimilation and Contemporary Immigration (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 2003); Charles Hirschman, Philip Kasinitz, and Josh DeWind, The Handbook of International Migration: The American Experience (New York: Russell Sage Foundation, 1999); Tamar Jacoby, Reinventing the Melting Pot: The New Immigrants and What It Means to Be American (New York: Basic Books, 2004); Juan F. Perea, Immigrants Out! The New Nativism and the Anti-Immigrant Impulse in the United States (New York: New York University Press, 1996); Alejandro Portes and Rubén G. Rumbaut, Immigrant America: A Portrait (Los Angeles: University of California Press, 1996); Rubén G. Rumbaut and Alejandro Portes, Immigrants in America (Berkeley: University of California Press, 2001); Daniel J. Tichenor, Dividing Lines: The Politics of Immigration Control in America (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2002).

19. This myth of origin in its component parts is instructively addressed and deconstructed by Roger Daniels, drawing on nineteenth-century social scientist E. G. Ravenstein’s “laws of migration.” Daniels, Coming to America, 2nd ed. (New York: Harper Perennial, 2002). Daniels notes that in the public mind, the following myths about historical and present-day US immigration are taken for granted: that most immigrants come seeking liberty from religious or political persecution; that most immigrants are among the poorest in their home countries; and that, according to the “melting pot” ideal, those arriving here blend into one (17). As Daniels demonstrates, these myths, although containing some veracity, do not “square with the actual American experience” (18).

20. The Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals initiative contains provisions similar to various drafts of the DREAM Act, classifying young undocumented immigrants as a “low priority for deportation.” Persons who qualify may defer deportation for a period of two years in order to complete their education and/or work legally.

21. Norman Binder, J. L. Polinard, and Robert D. Wrinkle, “Mexican American and Anglo Attitudes Toward Immigration Reform: A View from the Border,” Social Science Quarterly 78 (June 1997): 324–37.

22. Regarding mass media representations of the Muslims, Arabs, and Middle Easterners, see Kimberly A. Powell, “Framing Islam: An Analysis of U.S. Media Coverage of Terrorism Since 9/11,” Communication Studies 62 (2011): 90–112; Melina Trevino, Ali M. Kanso, and Richard Alan Nelson, “Islam Through Editorial Lenses: How American Elite Newspapers Portrayed Muslims Before and After September 11, 2001,” Journal of Arab and Muslim Media Research 3 (2010): 3–17; M. Mehdi Semati, “Communication, Culture, and the Essentialized Islam,” Communication Studies 62 (2011): 113–26; M. Mehdi Semati, “Islamophobia, Culture, and Race in the Age of Empire,” Cultural Studies 24 (2010): 256–75; M. Mehdi Semati, “Terrorists, Moslems, Fundamentalists, and Other Bad Objects in the Midst of ‘Us,’” Journal of International Communication 4 (1997): 30–49; Mary Ann Weston, “Post 9/11 Arab American Coverage Avoids Stereotypes,” Newspaper Research Journal 24 (2003): 92–106.

23. Arizona v. United States, 703 F. Supp. 2d 980 (D. Ariz. 2010), 641 F.3d 339 (9th Cir. 2011), cert granted.

24. When Chief Justice John G. Roberts, at the session’s outset, asked Solicitor General Donald B. Verelli directly, “No part of your argument has to do with racial or ethnic profiling, does it?,” Verelli agreed. Arizona v. United States, 11–182 (2012), 34.

25. The “Gang of Eight” were Senators John McCain (R-AZ), Dick Durbin (D-IL), Marco Rubio (R-FL), Robert Menendez (D-NJ), Lindsey Graham (R-SC), Charles Schumer (D-NY), Jeff Flake, (R-AZ), and Michael Bennet (D-CO).

26. Immigration Policy Center, “An Unlikely Couple: The Similar Approaches to Border Enforcement in H.R. 1417 and S. 744,” July 2013, http://www.immigrationpolicy.org/just-facts/unlikely-couple-similar-approaches-border-enforcement-hr-1417-and-s-744.

27. DeChaine, Border Rhetorics.

28. Ibid., 2.

29. Ibid., 5.

30. Ibid., 13.

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———. “Counter-Public Enclaves and Understanding the Function of Rhetoric in Social Movement Coalition-Building.” Communication Quarterly 59 (2011): 1–18.

———. “Exploring the Defeat of Arizona’s Marriage Amendment and the Specter of the Immigrant as Queer.” Southern Communication Journal 74 (2009): 314–24.

———. Queer Migration Politics. Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 2013.

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