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DACA, undocumented immigrants, identity, acculturation, integration


Approximately 650,000 children and young adults currently reside in the United States with Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) status, providing them with temporary legal status to reside in the country. We explored the phenomenon of how five DACA recipients experienced their national identities and how it contributed to their acculturation patterns using in-depth semi-structured interviews. We interpreted their comments through the theoretical lens of Berry’s (1997) acculturation theory and Edensor’s (2002) emphasis on everyday life as a critical factor of national identity. Although the participants had the desire to remain in the United States and be a part of U.S. culture, everyday realities of discrimination, and challenges accomplishing common life tasks taken for granted by American peers (getting a driver’s license, travelling, working, obtaining financial aid for higher education) kept the participants from fully integrating into American society and gaining a sense of belonging.

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Societies, v. 11, issue 1, art. 24

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