Date of Graduation

Spring 5-18-2018

Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts in International Studies (MAIS)


College of Arts and Sciences


International Studies

First Advisor

Christopher Loperena

Second Advisor

Jeffrey Paller


This thesis explores the ways in which U.S. intervention in Central America has been a contributing force to out-migration. Moving away from the conventional lens of migration studies, this thesis attempts to bridge a connection between the imposed construct of the American dream and the early implementation of U.S. neoliberal policy to measure a shift in immigrant identity. The historical antecedents of U.S./Central American relations are explored in order to trace the earliest moments of intervention in the physical sense. Discourse analysis is utilized to track the ways in which a ‘good life’ narrative and benchmarks of ‘success’ have been injected into the very fabric of Central American society. This thesis is three-fold in that it employs historical, discourse, and data analysis to draw conclusions about the various layers of immigrant identities, specifically the changes between multiple generations. Interviews were conducted with Central American immigrants to support these three methods.