Barriers to Interracial Marriage? Examining Policy Issues Concerning U.S. Citizens Married to Undocumented Latino/a Immigrants

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Journal of Social Issues




Interracial marriage in the United States is no longer outlawed, yet for many mixed-status couples (i.e., marriage between citizens and noncitizens), especially those including an undocumented Latino spouse, de facto discrimination is in effect. U.S. immigration policies have inadvertently made it difficult for citizens to love and marry the person of their choosing, all while remaining largely unknown to the public. Using existing literature, this article examines how immigration laws are contrary to the doctrine of marital privacy for mixed-status couples, with a special focus on U.S. citizens married to undocumented immigrants. My aim is to shine a light on how contradictory policies impact mixed-status couples and to trace back the roots of this problem by analyzing historical U.S. immigration policy choices.