Jane Lilly LópezFeb 1, 2022
Mixed-Citizenship Couples Negotiating Intimacy, Immigration, and the State
Stanford University Press 2021
For mixed-citizenship couples, getting married is the easy part. The US Supreme Court has confirmed the universal civil right to marry, guaranteeing every couple's ability to wed. But the Supreme Court has denied that this right to marriage includes married couples' right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness on US soil, creating a challenge for mixed-citizenship couples whose individual-level rights do not translate to family-level protections. While US citizens can extend legal inclusion to their spouses through family reunification, they must prove their worthiness and the worthiness of their love before their relationship will be officially recognized by the state.
In Unauthorized Love: Mixed-Citizenship Couples Negotiating Intimacy, Immigration, and the State (Stanford UP, 2021), Jane López offers a comprehensive, critical look at US family reunification law and its consequences as experienced by 56 mixed-citizenship American couples. These couples' stories––of integration and alienation, of opportunity and inequality, of hope and despair––make tangible the consequences of current US immigration laws that tend to favor Whiteness, wealth, and heteronormativity, as well as the individual rather than the family unit, in awarding membership and official belonging. In examining the experiences of couples struggling to negotiate intimacy under the constraints of immigration policy, López argues for a rethinking of citizenship as a family affair.
David-James Gonzales (DJ) is Assistant Professor of History at Brigham Young University. He is a historian of migration, urbanization, and social movements in the U.S., and specializes in Latina/o/x politics and social movements.