Citations (4)


Footnotes (396)



Immigration Law and the Regulation of Marriage

Kerry Abrams

University of Virginia School of Law

Minnesota Law Review, Vol. 91, p. 1624, 2007

This Article argues that much of federal immigration law functions as a form of family law. Although the conventional wisdom holds that family law is state law, federal immigration law actually regulates marriages that involve immigrants much more extensively than state family does, often unintentionally. This Article maps the architecture of federal immigration law regulation through the four stages of marriage: courtship, entry into marriage, the intact marriage, and exit from marriage through divorce. It shows how laws that appear at first glance to effectuate immigration policy - including the immigration provisions of the Violence Against Women Act, the requirement that citizen spouses sign an affidavit of support in order to sponsor their immigrant spouses, and immigration laws prohibiting marriage fraud - all regulate the creation and dissolution of legally recognized family relationships, and/or determine the legal rights and responsibilities of family members, in other words, function as family law. It then offers ways of analyzing whether Congress is acting within its immigration power when it passes laws that regulate the family.

Number of Pages in PDF File: 85

Keywords: marriage, immigration law, family law

Open PDF in Browser Download This Paper

Date posted: September 13, 2006  

Suggested Citation

Abrams, Kerry, Immigration Law and the Regulation of Marriage. Minnesota Law Review, Vol. 91, p. 1624, 2007. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=929725

Contact Information

Kerry Abrams (Contact Author)
University of Virginia School of Law ( email )
580 Massie Road
Charlottesville, VA 22903
United States
434-924-7361 (Phone)

Feedback to SSRN

Paper statistics
Abstract Views: 5,388
Downloads: 789
Download Rank: 22,769
Citations:  4
Footnotes:  396