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"Return to sender" identification and scapegoating: Analysis of the 2014 immigration protest in Murrieta, California
deAnda, Carly Rose
Geist-Martin, PatriciaGibbons, Joseph
Immigration has become a growing point of contention in the United States. Political climates continue to change, allowing those who immigrate to different countries through either legal or illegal venues. In fact, the immigration debate in the United States has ignited protest across the country. Political turmoil in other countries has motivated individuals to enter the U.S. for numerous reasons. There is a large body of literature that explores the language assigned to this demographic and how it follows a pattern of othering. In Murrieta, California, a town less than 80 miles south of Los Angeles, citizens actively protested three buses from Central America, all of which were granted temporary asylum to stay in the United States. The citizens protested due to concerns of safety, financial responsibility, and failed government policy. Although addressing concerns of safety and resources is necessary, this particular situation proves ripe for analysis, specifically within aspects of identification and scapegoating because the protest was considered by some to be an infringement on basic human rights. Thus, the citizens were tasked with reconciling their protest to a larger demographic that viewed it as a violation of human rights. Ultimately, the protesters constituted those on the bus as an “other”, while simultaneously scapegoating failed government as the cause for the disorder in their town. The protest serves as a rhetorical tool to illuminate Burke’s concept of identification and scapegoating. These rhetorical devices serve as a means to avoid blame during moments of conflict which simultaneously leaves an analysis of the immigration debate open, and the lines between various in-groups and out-groups closed.
Professional Studies and Fine Arts
Master of Arts (M.A.) San Diego State University, 2017
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