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The DREAM Act: Extending Citizenship to the 1.5 Generation and Consequences for American Democracy

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Author: Gottschalk-Marconi, Emily
Advisor: Schwartz, Joel D.
Committee Members: Griffin, Monica D.; Stow, Simon, 1970-
Issued Date: 2011-12
Subjects: DREAM Act
Community Engagement
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/10288/16582
Description: The U.S. is experiencing a crisis of citizenship. Political participation and social capital are declining, as rates of trust, community engagement, and volunteerism dwindle. Historically, immigrants have been known to mitigate this crisis, because they reinvigorate democracy by bringing perspective, legitimacy, and a willingness to engage to the polity. Today, a new issue is posed by the 1.5 Generation -- immigrants who entered the U.S. illegally before age sixteen and are currently under the age of 30. Many members of the 1.5 Generation possess the positive qualities ascribed to immigrants; however, straddling the identities of citizens and non-citizens, they remain an untapped resource. One way to draw on this resource is through the DREAM Act. Traditionally, debate over this legislation emphasizes the economic and military consequences; however, I suggest turning the focus back to citizenship. The DREAM Act is predicated on two inherent models of citizenship -- one civic-republican, and one Lockean-liberal; -- yet, there are problems with each of these models and how they are manifest in the proposed legislation, which hinders the U.S. from achieving a more robust conception of citizenship. In this paper, I reformulate the DREAM Act to include a public service option, which would include, but not be restricted to, military service. This option will address the problems of the liberal and republican models, build on immigrants as a resource, and advance the prospects of a new conception of citizenship that ameliorates this crisis.
Degree: Bachelors of Arts in Interdisciplinary Studies

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