‘Good, deserving immigrants’ join the Tea Party: How South Carolina policy excludes Latinx and undocumented immigrants from educational opportunity and social mobility

Sophia Rodriguez


This timely article engages in a content analysis of South Carolina state policies that exclude resources from (un)documented Latinx immigrants. This research explores how state policy enacts tropes of deservingness and constructs notions of good immigrants in order to exclude Latinx immigrants from educational opportunity and social mobility. Drawing on a content analysis of 67 policy documents from the state’s legislative database from 2003-2017, the analysis revealed examples of explicit and implicit exclusion. The main findings related to these forms of explicit and implicit exclusion, highlighting how policy discourse constructs notions of good immigrants in state policy and policy enactments restrict resources. As Latinx populations reconfigure the landscape of the U.S. South, states like South Carolina continue to embed racist, discriminatory language and actions into enacted and proposed policies. This has severe implications for undocumented children and families and their access to public and social resources.


State policy; Latinx; Undocumented immigrants; Deservingness; New Latino South

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.14507/epaa.26.3636

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