KU News Release

June 15, 2012
Contact: Mary Jane Dunlap, KU News Service, 785-864-8853

Media advisory: KU expert available to discuss White House proposal to block deportation of younger immigrants

LAWRENCE — A Latino literature expert at the University of Kansas is available to respond to today’s news that the Obama administration will block deportations of some young immigrants.

Marta Caminero-Santangelo, professor of English and department chair at the University of Kansas, says that despite not having a public voice, undocumented immigrants through personal accounts and oral histories in literature and media are helping to counter fears of people considered aliens.

Caminero-Santangelo, a scholar and activist, is completing a new book that describes how undocumented immigrants are helping to shape the nation’s perception of immigrants and the immigration debate. Her new book is titled “Documenting the Undocumented: Narrative, Nation and Social Justice in the Gatekeeper Era.”

While books and blogs by Latino writers focus on what it means to be undocumented or illegal in the United States, Caminero-Santangelo points out that often personal accounts by novice writers or speakers have had widest public impact. These accounts often used by children of undocumented immigrants known as the DREAM activists (acronym for proposed legislation known as Development, Relief and Education for Alien Minors) are closely related to the genre known as “testimonio” in Spanish.

Both the DREAM activists and the sanctuary movements have successfully grasped the political value of telling personal stories, she says. Her new book concludes with oral histories from DREAM activists.

Caminero-Santangelo can be reached at 785-864-2521 or camsan@ku.edu.

The University of Kansas is a major comprehensive research and teaching university. University Relations is the central public relations office for KU's Lawrence campus.

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