Date of Graduation

Winter 12-16-2011

Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts in International Studies


International Studies

First Advisor

Dorothy Kidd


The United States has always been a nation of immigrants, in which the idea of “citizenship” has had very strong intrinsic values, and has divided those who “have it” from those who “don’t,” since the first legal construction of such categories in 1790. Longstanding contradictions, characterized by ceremonies awarding citizenship to some and laws of exclusion, deportation, and forced removal for others, have embodied U.S. approaches to citizenship, and created a dichotomy between “citizen” and “alien.” This Master's Thesis will initiate a discussion and reformulation of what it means to be a citizen in the United States, and more importantly what it means for those who do not have access to this title and the privileges that go along with it, such as Mexican immigrants and Mexican Americans.