Cover of Unauthorized Love by Jane Lilly López
Unauthorized Love
Mixed-Citizenship Couples Negotiating Intimacy, Immigration, and the State
Jane Lilly López

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November 2021
264 pages.
from $26.00

Hardcover ISBN: 9781503629318
Paperback ISBN: 9781503629721

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A rich, narrative exploration of the ways love defies, survives, thrives, and dies as lovers contend with US immigration policy.

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, 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.

About the author

Jane Lilly López is Assistant Professor of Sociology at Brigham Young University.