“Since when have people been illegal?”: Latinx youth reflections in Nepantla

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Using Gloria Anzaldúa’s idea of nepantla alongside critical theories of race and citizenship, this article highlights how Latinx undocumented youth and youth of mixed status families navigate, resist, and at times endorse the various and competing discourses around immigration, citizenship, and illegality. The author uses pláticas as a methodological and pedagogical tool with youth who live in a migrant housing complex to examine how they enter sociopolitical conversations centered on their lived realities. Drawing on the youths’ reflections, the author emphasizes a need to centralize and create spaces for the voices of youth within discussions and action around immigration and citizenship, because they are continuously subjected to and forced to navigate dominant narratives and discourses that surface about them, their families, and (im)migrant communities.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)503-523
Number of pages21
JournalLatino Studies
Issue number4
StatePublished - Dec 1 2018
Externally publishedYes


  • Citizenship
  • Illegality
  • Latinx Youth
  • Nepantla
  • Pláticas

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cultural Studies
  • History
  • Sociology and Political Science


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