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BORDERS AND BADGES: HOW ARIZONA'S CHILDREN MAKE SENSE OF DETENTION AND DEPORTATION THROUGH ART

  • Author(s): Rodriguez Vega, Silvia P.
  • Advisor(s): Abrego, Leisy J
  • Baca, Judith F
  • et al.
Abstract

Currently, about 20% of the young people in the United States are born to immigrant parents (Chaudry, 2010). There are an estimated 5.5 million U.S. children who grow up in immigrant homes (Passel, D'Vera Cohn, & Center, 2011). While the population of children in immigrant families continues to increase, anti-Latino immigrant sentiments and record numbers of deportations by the Obama administration are creating traumatizing experiences for the next generation of U.S. citizens.

This study examines 115 drawings, poems, and letters by predominantly Mexican-American children ages 5-18 from immigrant families in what is known as the laboratory for anti-immigrant legislation--Phoenix, Arizona. This work provides a compelling look into the harrowing lives of children growing up in hostile anti-immigrant environments by using an artistic medium. Some of the themes found in this work include Family Separation, Respect/Racism, Sheriff Joe Arpaio/Authority, and Hope. This study can be useful for teachers, academics, policy makers, and community organizations in assessing the needs of immigrant children experiencing the threat of family separation.

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