Date Thesis Awarded


Access Type

Honors Thesis -- Access Restricted On-Campus Only

Degree Name

Bachelors of Arts (BA)


Interdisciplinary Studies


Joel D. Schwartz

Committee Members

Monica D. Griffin

Simon Stow


The U.S. is experiencing a crisis of citizenship. Political participation and social capital are declining, as rates of trust, community engagement, and volunteerism dwindle. Historically, immigrants have been known to mitigate this crisis, because they reinvigorate democracy by bringing perspective, legitimacy, and a willingness to engage to the polity. Today, a new issue is posed by the 1.5 Generation -- immigrants who entered the U.S. illegally before age sixteen and are currently under the age of 30. Many members of the 1.5 Generation possess the positive qualities ascribed to immigrants; however, straddling the identities of citizens and non-citizens, they remain an untapped resource. One way to draw on this resource is through the DREAM Act. Traditionally, debate over this legislation emphasizes the economic and military consequences; however, I suggest turning the focus back to citizenship. The DREAM Act is predicated on two inherent models of citizenship -- one civic-republican, and one Lockean-liberal; -- yet, there are problems with each of these models and how they are manifest in the proposed legislation, which hinders the U.S. from achieving a more robust conception of citizenship. In this paper, I reformulate the DREAM Act to include a public service option, which would include, but not be restricted to, military service. This option will address the problems of the liberal and republican models, build on immigrants as a resource, and advance the prospects of a new conception of citizenship that ameliorates this crisis.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 License.


Thesis is part of Honors ETD pilot project, 2008-2013. Migrated from Dspace in 2016.

On-Campus Access Only