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Open Access Publications from the University of California


InterActions is an open access journal hosted by the eScholarship initiative of the California Digital Library, edited and managed by graduate students, based at the UCLA Graduate School of Education & Information Studies. Our publication’s authors foster an open and critical dialogue with readers and colleagues through applying diverse social justice frameworks to the discussion of pressing issues in the fields of education and information.

Immigration and Documentation:

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Exploring the Impact of Information and Institutions on Communities, Families, and Individuals


An Oral History of the Justice for Janitors Movement: On Trauma, Central America, and the Undocumented

The article details the experience of conducting an oral history project on the Justice for Janitors movement in Los Angeles. In particular, the piece focuses on the recounting of sensitive material and the legal process behind interviewing undocumented workers. In the case of the former, many of the interviewees were in Guatemala and El Salvador during their respective civil wars. The article looks at best practices for oral historians when dealing with interview subjects that have suffered great trauma. In the case of the latter, the article looks at the many obstacles regarding interviewing undocumented workers. While some protections are available to ensure the confidentiality of interview subjects, their legal reliability is still largely unknown.

Reflecting upon the Role of Memory in Meeting the Information Needs of Indigenous Mexican Migrants- The Memory Making Space of the Mixteco-Indígena Community Organizing Project (MICOP)

This article aims to identify the role of memory in meeting the information needs of Mexican indigenous populations who have migrated to the United States.  Using archival repository material such as newspaper clippings and event flyers pertaining to the work of the Mixteco/Indígena Community Organizing Project (MICOP), I draw upon the ways that language and embodied experiences can be used by community organizations as mediators between diasporic groups and larger societies in which they are situated.  Through this material, I conclude that cultural aspects like language and traditional festivals can be used to help provide economic and social assistance to migrant communities, as well as work to educate the greater community about diasporic groups, respectively.  Institutions serving migrant communities like MICOP need to use cultural memory actively to support the diaspora in the present context as a means to preserve and ensure continuity of these traditions.

“It’s Not Just a Latino Issue”: Policy Recommendations to Better Support a Racially Diverse Population of Undocumented Students

Even though almost a quarter of undocumented immigrants are not of Latina/o origin, most academic research and institutional support policies have heavily emphasized the experiences and needs of Latina/o undocumented students. This report highlights the experiences of non-Latina/o undocumented college students in an effort to provide insight into how educators, organizers, and interested stakeholders can better support the needs of a racially diverse undocumented student population. We find that the racialization of undocumented immigration as a Latina/o issue differentiates the experiences of Latina/o and non-Latina/o undocumented students by creating disparities in their access to material resources and social support. Building upon these findings, we draw specific policy recommendations that will help better support all undocumented students’ access to and persistence in higher education.


"This is what is happening to my students": Using Book Talk to Mediate Teacher Discussion on Immigration and Social Justice

Teaching is political and occurs in a milieu that is often harsh and unsympathetic to immigrant communities; schools and educators are indispensable in helping immigrant children navigate the often stressful process. Drawing on literature related to teacher caring as a source of social capital, critical and culturally relevant pedagogy, and book talk, this article focuses on two Latina in-service teachers from the U.S.-Mexico border participating in discussions of Return to Sender by Julia Alvarez (2009). The novel is a contribution to the current political climate on immigration.  In their discussion, the teachers made connections to their students lives, community, and larger discourse on immigration. Additionally, they examined the role of teachers in supporting acceptance of immigrant communities.

Special Section Articles

Educators for Immigrant Rights

Educators for Immigrant Rights is a visual representation of the Los Angeles community organization, Educators for Immigrant Rights (EIR).  EIR is a collective of education advocates ranging from students, professors, district administrators, policy makers and activists from a number of Southern California counties.


EDUCACIÓN is a piece that brings my work as an artist, educator, activist, and scholar together. It is a re-interpretation of the original border crossing sign displayed on the Interstate 5 near the San Diego-Tijuana border.

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Book Reviews

Undocumented: How Immigration Became Illegal by Aviva Chomsky

Book review of Undocumented:  How Immigration Became Illegal by Aviva Chomsky.

How Race Is Made in America: Immigration, Citizenship, and the Historical Power of Racial Scripts by Natalia Molina

Natalia Molina presents a critical analysis of the period 1924-1965 in U.S. immigration policy and provides an opportunity for readers to examine the racialization of Mexicans in the United States and its impact on immigration legislation and naturalization.

International Education and Schools: Moving Beyond the First 40 Years edited by Richard Pearce

This book review explores the 2013 text that was edited by Richard Pearce: International Education and Schools: Moving Beyond the First 40 Years (2013).

Sacrificing Families: Navigating Laws, Labor, and Love Across Borders by Leisy Abrego

Leisy Abrego’s book, Sacrificing Families: Navigating Laws, Labor, and Love Across Border draws from the lived experiences of Salvadoran parents residing in the US and of their children who remain back home. Abrego eloquently weaves the narratives of transnational families together, while connecting them to the broader political and social context that continues to shape immigration policies. Instead of reinforcing discourses regarding Central American immigrants, Abrego urges us to pay attention to the intersectionalities of immigration policies and gender norms, and how these interplay to allow only a small group of migrants to improve their lives.

Performance, Identity and Immigration Law: A Theatre of Undocumentedness

Immigration issues carry multiple opportunities and problems manifesting differently for number of groups, creating tension, inspiring passion, and thus rendering these issues politically difficult. As people move across borders into the United States, legal frameworks divide individuals into reductive categories of documented immigrants and undocumented non-citizens. Gad Guterman, Head of the Theatre Studies and Dramaturgy Program at the Conservatory Theatre of Arts at Webster University, provides in his first book a detailed discursive analysis of theatrical works to illustrate how legal language defines identity of those dealing with situations of undocumentedness. Guterman has spent nearly 20 years writing, directing and teaching theatre, focusing on relationships between theater and the law. The object of analysis in this book is a “theatre of undocumentedness”, a theatre movement with many historical antecedents that has been circulating through small playhouses in southern border cities, Chicago and New York City since 2006. He addresses a number of the more well-known pieces that he considers to fit into the theatre of undocumentedness—by Josefina López, Culture Clash, Arthur Miller and Michael John Gárces, among others.

Guterman’s compelling examination the discursive aspects relating to labor, family, sexuality and gender identity in correlation to legal statuses present in the theatre of undocumentedness illustrates the realities that exist between illegal and legal, citizen and non-citizen on the contemporary American stage. In creating performative sphere of existence, these theatrical performances often succeed not just in calling attention to, but also in subverting legal identities, opening categories of identification to encompass the variety of ways in which individuals exist in the world.

Virtual homelands: Indian Immigrants and Online Cultures in the United States by Madhavi Mallapragada

Book review 

Virtual homelands: Indian Immigrants

and Online Cultures in the United States,

by Madhavi Mallapragada.

Champaign, IL: University of Illinois Press, 2014. 179 pp.

ISBN: 978-0-252-08022-7