Mixed-status families, immigration policy, undocumented immigrants, citizenship


Immigration policy has shifted its focus from family reunification to strict enforcement of "illegal" immigration. It has become much more difficult for U.S. citizens to adjust their non-citizen spouses' legal status, especially spouses who are undocumented. This paper examines the vulnerabilities of female U.S. citizens married or partnered with undocumented Mexican men. Findings challenge the simplistic notion that marriage with a U.S. citizen creates automatic legalization for undocumented individuals and highlights the creation of a second class citizenry for native-born partners. This study argues that punitive immigration law and policies have profound negative implications for the lives of U.S. citizens.

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