The Story of DACA as Told by Friends of the Court: The Role of Interest Convergence, Color-Evasiveness, and Exceptionality in Policy Discourse

Raquel Muñiz, Maria M. Lewis, Tugce Tumer, Emma Kane

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Purpose: In this study, we examine the policy discourse in the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) case before the US Supreme Court, a case with implications for education. The case drew a wide range of interested groups who weighed in on the policy as amici curiae, “friends of the court,” offering perspectives about the implications of the case and constructing an overall narrative of DACA within policy discourse. Research Methods/Approach: The theoretical framework guiding the study combines Critical Race Theory (CRT) and Undocumented Critical Theory (UndocuCrit). Using this lens, we identified the discourse regarding issues of race and immigration status in the collective story of the DACA policy as told by amici curiae, including multiple educational stakeholders. Through an iterative process, we employed theory-and data-driven coding to qualitatively analyze the 44 briefs amici curiae submitted to the Court. To bolster the trustworthiness of the findings, we engaged in memoing and extensive team discussions. Findings: Our findings revealed the limitations of the story of DACA. Specifically, we identified a color-evasive narrative that failed to account for the complexities of the lives of recipients, emphasized the benefits they brought to the country and others (e.g., monetary), and decentered the recipients’ needs and experiences. Implications: Given the significant presence of educational stakeholders, we discuss the implications of a color-evasive narrative that fails to account for recipients’ complex lives, emphasizes the benefits to others, and decenters recipients. We note the importance of counternarratives to disrupt majoritarian stories that marginalize undocumented immigrants.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)297-324
Number of pages28
JournalAmerican Journal of Education
Issue number3
StatePublished - May 1 2023

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Education

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