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The Impact of Deportation in Discourse Community: Analytical Essay

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In Diane Guerrero’s article “My Parents Were Deported” she argues that those who have had their parents deported often go through a tough time in their life. She states that “Children who grow up separated from their families often end up in foster care, or worse, in the juvenile justice system…” (Guerrero 488). Using language and a common goal to connect with her audience who, like me have had their parent(s) deported, she is able to put herself into a position where she can be a part of those communities with people alike .This is important because throughout her article she explains how some people whose parents are taken away by deportation can have a negative impact on their life. Guerrero’s use of persuasive devices like ethos, pathos, logos and her uses of causal and factual classes of arguments not only let her connect with her audience but helps her write a logical argument. Although Guerrero uses persuasive devices and classes of arguments in her writing, her writing can be seen to have comparison to what Don Murray, John Swales, James Gee, and Keith Grant-Davie say about someone’s language and writing and how that can make them apart of a discourse community.

First, Guerrero who has firsthand experience with her parents and other family members being deported gives her credibility to connect with her audience. Guerrero states that “I am a citizen daughter of immigrant parents who were deported when I was 14” (487). she gives herself credibility by saying that she too has gone through her family members being deported which gives her audience the idea that she knows the struggle and knows what she is talking about. In other words, her ethos suggest that she is like other people who have had their family deported. This gives her audience a sense that they are not in this alone and that someone is out there in the world trying to better the life of people who also have experienced this traumatic life experience of loved ones being deported and is bringing awareness to the issue.

In fact, I would argue that Guerrero’s writing can relate to what Don Murray says in that “all writing is autobiographical”. Murray says “we are autobiographical in the way we write…my voice is a product of Scottish genes and a Yankee environment… (67). Guerrero whose writing is a product of her parents being deported uses specific language like “I am a citizen daughter of immigrant parents who were deported…” through her experience of her parents deportation she bring that forth into her writing and is able to easily relate to her audience. Through this she is able to further her reach to a younger audience and further credibility.

Guerrero then uses pathos to engage with her audience emotionally. She states that “…my childhood was haunted by the fear that they would be deported” (487) showing that she was always is constant fear that she would come home to an empty house. She then adds that “My family and I worked very hard to keep our relationship strong, but too—short phone calls and the annual summer visit I made to Columbia didn’t suffice” (487). Her writing makes the audience think that what if that was them, what if they were only able to see their loved ones during the summer and phone call where shortened, she makes those who are reading feel sympathetic for those in that position. Guerrero continues the use of pathos when she notes that “And though I was surrounded by people who cares about me, part of me ached with every accomplishment because my parents weren’t there to share my joy” (487). She brings attention to the fact that although she is accomplishing once in a lifetime events, they all felt worthless because the people who she wanted to share that feeling of worth with is not with her or even witnessing it. In her writing Guerrero thoroughly considers her audience by showing some feeling and emotion on how she felt at that time for those who might now have gone through the same thing. She gives off strong use of emotion with words like “ached” and “haunted” to give off the message she intends to send which is the state of which people go through as they have their family members taken away from them.

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Additionally, we can see that Guerrero uses what John Swales defines as a characteristic of a discourse community. Guerrero engages with her audience through the use of “specific lexis” or language used in a discourse community. Her usage of specific word like “ached” and “haunted” shows that she knows how it feels to be living in constant fear and pain. Doing this she shows how she belongs to a discourse community. Her use of these words further prove that she knows what it feels like to have your parents deported or knowing that it’s a possibility any day. Further, we can see that Guerrero’s article can also refer to what James Gee describes as an “identity kit”. Gee says that “a discourse is a sort of identity kit which comes complete with the appropriate costume and instructions on how to act, talk and often write… (7). Through her use of specific words, Guerrero is able to connect with those in her audience who have experienced the same as her and has become a part of their “identity”.

Secondly this article has a kairotic moment for immigrants. She writes this article during the time President Obama was in office. She writes the article at a time when talk about immigration is at its highest. She even writes “President Obama has promised to act on providing deportation relief for families across the country, and I would urge him to do so quickly” (488). By stating that President Obama has promised relief to families, she gives her audience a motive to hold President Obama somewhat accountable if he does not. Therefore, Guerrero argues, “Keeping families together is a core American value” (488). Here Guerrero appeals to her readers, though her audience has now broadened from immigrants and their families to people who appreciate American values and want to keep families together. This allows Guerrero to paint a bigger picture and point out that the deportation of families is not only tearing families apart but also going against the American core value

In the same way, Guerrero uses another characteristic of a discourse community that John Swales describes as a “common public goal”. Swales says, “In some instances, but not in many, the goals may be high level or abstract” (471). Guerrero sets a goal for the American people that there needs to be change on how immigrants are represented. Although this may be a tough goal to accomplish Guerrero tries to get the attention of President Obama to act quickly on the situation. In doing so Guerrero has now set constraints for her writing. Keith Grant-Davie describes a constraint as 'persons, events, objects, and relations which are parts of the situation because they have the power to constrain decision and action needed to modify the exigence” (266). Since Guerrero has addressed the President and Congress, they now are a part of this common goal she has asked needs to be fixed, they now too have the power to help with the goal or not. Likewise, with Gee’s “identity kit”, since she is addressing the President and Congress, she needs to have a sense of formality in her writing so they can recognize her problem.

In addition to using persuasive device, Guerrero also uses causal and factual classes of arguments to further her argument about the impact of deportation. Guerrero writes that “Children who grow up separated from their families often end up in foster care, or worse, in the juvenile justice system…” (Guerrero 488). She states that children who may have their parents taken away may cause them to make bad choices or end up with a family who really does not care for them. Guerrero also uses a factual class of argument when she observes that President Obama “…promised to act on providing deportation relief for families across the country, and I would urge him to do so quickly” (Guerrero 488). She uses President Obama’s promise to help to show that there is proof of people trying to help and that there is discussion about deportation to further her argument that deportation is not only something she faced, but a problem thousands of people have also faced across the country.

In the end using ethos, pathos, logos and causal and factual classes of arguments Guerrero develops a logical argument in her writing. Also, with the use of language and the characteristics of a discourse community, Guerrero is able to put herself into a community of people, like me, who have had their family members deported and have been through the struggle of life. First, we must see that Guerreros own struggle with her family being deported give her credibility. She has gone through the emotion and feeling that comes after the realization knowing that your parents aren’t coming back. She says that her parents were deported when she was just 14 gives her the experience that she knows the feeling of being left alone. Secondly, we see Guerrero use pathos throughout her article to connect with her reader emotionally in her writing. This is important for her audience because not all her audience have probably gone through times like these, but it gives them an insight of what people might have gone through or were feeling at that time. The use of classes of arguments further her writing and connect with the audience and create an argument that the separation of families is against core American values. Guerrero also encourages other to do more about separating families by saying “…it’s not just in the interest of immigrants…it’s in the interest of all Americans” (488). Finally Guerrero is able to refer to John Swales, James Gee, Don Murray, Keith Grant-Davie to further her credibility and show that she is apart of a discourse community.

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The Impact of Deportation in Discourse Community: Analytical Essay. (2022, August 12). Edubirdie. Retrieved March 5, 2024, from
“The Impact of Deportation in Discourse Community: Analytical Essay.” Edubirdie, 12 Aug. 2022,
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