PAPERS AND LEGITIMACY: AN ANALYSIS OF LEGAL DOCUMENTATION AND MIGRANT SALVADORANS' PERCEPTIONS OF BEING AMERICAN
Beatriz Maldonado1, Josue David Cisneros2.
1Scripps College, Los Angeles, CA, 2University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Champaign, IL.
This research highlights Salvadoran migrants’ identities within the United States since their departure from El Salvador during its Civil War. The purpose of this research is to provide a historical context of the Salvadoran Civil War and an analysis of citizenship documentation transitions upon arriving to the United States. In doing so, we demonstrate how documentation builds an influential and detrimental power over the Salvadoran migrants’ participation within the community. It is important to mention the Civil War because of two reasons: 1) for its introduction to various stages of enduring violence, and 2) for its impact on policy migration laws toward Salvadoran refugees. This research not only portrays the various shifts of violence, but it also distinguishes documentation as a form of classism. More importantly, the findings reveal a correlation between the dynamics of violent documentation and the Salvadorans’ distorted, misguided, and inconclusive perceptions that they hold about the concepts of belonging and identity.