Date of Award

Spring 2020

Thesis Type

Open Access

Degree Name

Honors Bachelor of Arts




Nolan Kline

Committee Member

Ashley Kistler

Committee Member

Rachel Newcomb


“When Mexico sends its people, they’re not sending their best. […] They’re sending people that have lots of problems, and they’re bringing those problems with us. They’re bringing drugs. They’re bringing crime. They’re rapists. And some, I assume, are good people” (Time Magazine 2015). This quote from Donald Trump has become emblematic of the President’s attitude towards immigrants. Since the 2016 campaign trail, Trump has spread harmful narratives about Latinx immigrants, and his words have tangible impacts on local communities. In this thesis, I use the framework of triadic right-wing populism to analyze how President Trump characterizes Latinx immigrants as a dangerous out-group to gain political power. Then, I examine what it means to live as part of this out-group, using data I collected in a 2019 activist ethnographic study of Latinx teens from immigrant families in Apopka, Florida. I describe how native-born teens are empowered by Trump’s rhetoric to discriminate against their Latinx peers, and how in doing so, they become instruments of governmentality, teaching Latinx teens they must silence and separate themselves or face the consequences. Finally, I analyze the negative effects Latinx teens experience because of this hostile environment and suggest ways to mitigate them.


The fourth committee member for this thesis was Dan Chong.

Rights Holder

Mary Vickers