“Unauthorized Love: Mixed-Citizenship Couples Negotiating Intimacy, Immigration, and the State”

Dr. Jane Lopez, Brigham Young University
Mon, 11/08/2021 - 1:00pm to 2:30pm

Abstract: What does it mean for all individuals living in the United States to have the universal right to marry but with no guarantee to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness with one’s spouse within the borders of the United States? Although the US Supreme Court has confirmed the universal civil right to marry, guaranteeing every couple's ability to wed, it has has denied that this right to marriage includes married couples' right to life together 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 this talk, I will examine the conflicts and consequences of US immigration laws as they apply to mixed-citizenship American couples. I will also explore the space between the law-as-written and the law-in- practice to show how legal consciousness also directly affects family reunification outcomes for mixed-citizenship couples. Grounded in the experiences of mixed-citizenship American couples, I will demonstrate the family-level consequences of our individual-level citizenship regime and argue for a rethinking of citizenship as a family affair.

Bio: Jane Lilly López is Assistant Professor of Sociology at Brigham Young University. Her research interrogates citizenship (as both a legal status and a lived experience/identity) and the effects of law in the public and private realms of everyday life.

Have questions? Please reach out to the Colloquium Committee:
Dr. Amanda Geller (agellers@uci.edu), Dr. Miguel Quintana Navarrete (miguelrq@uci.edu),
Dr. Susan Coutin (scoutin@uci.edu) and Meghan Ballard (mmballar@uci.edu)