by Teresa A. Statler
'Love in the Time of Deportation' and
Many More Heart-wrenching Stories
n Amor & Exile: True Stories of Love Across America's
Borders, former Boise, ID, reporter Nathaniel Hoffman
and expatriate American Nicole Salgado show us the
current immigration law's detrimental effects on U.S.
citizens and their undocumented foreign spouses. The
stories of true love and true frustration contained in this
book ring familiar to any immigration lawyer in the United
States who handles family-based matters. However, the
American public, and more importantly, many members
of Congress, likely do not know or understand how U.S.
immigration laws can keep families separated. Hoffman
opens the book with a chapter titled, "Love in the Time
of Deportation," in which he introduces the reader to six
bi-national couples, all of whom are struggling with the
daunting logistics and inhumanity of the unlawful presence
bars. Nicole Salgado and her husband are one of them.
A Personal Account
In several chapters, Salgado describes her life in exile
in Queretaro, Mexico. Her husband is subject to the
permanent bar, so he must wait for 10 years before applying
for a waiver. He has two more to go. Salgado tells of
their financial struggles in Mexico and the difficulty in
integrating with her husband's large family. Salgado has
networked with other "families in exile" in Central Mexico,
co-founding the online activist group, Action for Family
Unity, to work for change in U.S. immigration laws. Salgado
movingly speaks of her own and of other Americans'
"disenfranchisement" and exile abroad due to the Illegal
Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act. The
reader senses her frustration and, indeed, her anger, that
her country has forced her to live in Mexico, rather than
letting her and her husband choose where they will live.
Amor & Exile:
True Stories of Love
Across America's Borders
She believes, however, that she is a "better person for all
that I've endured—stronger, more resilient."
Amor & Exile also tells the story of J.W. and Gabriel, a
gay couple who also now live in Mexico, having left Texas
before Gabriel would have been eligible for Deferred Action
for Childhood Arrivals. J.W., active in Texas Republican
circles, has "conservative Republican friends"—Hoffman
reports—who are "willing to make exceptions to their
personal philosophies [regarding illegal immigration]
and seek status for his undocumented boyfriend because
J.W. is 'people like them.'" Anticipating the nullification of
the Defense of Marriage Act by the U.S. Supreme Court,
Hoffman sees some hope on the horizon for same-sex
couples, which has seemingly now come to pass.
Throughout the book, Hoffman tells of American friends
and family of the six couples who are astounded that the
immigration laws are so harsh. He quotes many who are
surprised that legal status is not "automatic" after marriage to a
U.S. citizen. Hoffman's legal information is very accurate,
S EPTEMBER/ O CTOBER 2013