Undocumented young adults have emerged as a coherent political group, forging a large-scale social movement and helping push forward nineteen state-level tuition equity laws and Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) in 2012. Yet, DACA recipients’ status became endangered when President Trump rescinded DACA in September 2017, necessitating even more innovative strategies for contesting their exclusion. Drawing from research conducted in Maryland since 2016, I chronicle DACA recipients’ trajectories of political engagement. Though some have participated consistently in public forms of collective action, many never have or have declined in participation due to political apathy, the intense need to protect their identities, and very-real fears about being exposed or deported. Yet, these young adults have cultivated complementary forms of everyday activism, operating outside traditional modalities and spaces of political engagement through acts of resistance carried out in everyday life. I contend that against the backdrop of the repressive state in the Trump era, the everyday activism of DACA recipients complements more normative and overt forms of collective action. Everyday activism raises interesting questions about the nature of activism itself, including the extent to which it must be collective, organized, and public, and its place in social justice movements more broadly.

This content is only available as a PDF.
You do not currently have access to this content.