The 1952 McCarran-Walter Immigration Act was particularly problematic in how it applied to foreigners attracted to their own gender. The "Red Scare" era of the 1950s was a period of national insecurity about homosexuals, and Congress found a way to exclude "homosexuals and other sex perverts" under the provision banning entry of aliens "afflicted with psychopathic personality." On September, 15, 1975, while a graduate student at the University of Michigan, I asked Gerald Ford, who was in Ann Arbor to kick off his presidential campaign, why gay people were excluded from the U.S. He promised to have his aides "look into it."
This anti-gay exclusion (Item 55) remained in effect for decades until the 1990 Immigration Act removed the provision. Non-citizen same-sex partners of U.S. citizens continue to be barred from entry, however, unlike unmarried heterosexual partners.
Lionel Cantú, a UCI doctoral candidate in social relations, focused his research on gay exclusion, funded by the Social Science Research Council's Sexuality Fellowship Program and the Ford Foundation. His 1999 dissertation Border Crossings: Mexican Men and the Sexuality of Migration would later be revised as Queer Migrations: Sexuality, U.S. Citizenship, and Border Crossings (University of Minnesota Press, 2005) (Item 54). It was published posthumously after his sudden death in 2002 while he was a faculty member at UC Santa Cruz. A report issued jointly by Human Rights Watch and Immigration Equality in 2006, titled Family, Unvalued: Discrimination, Denial, and the Fate of Binational Same-Sex Couples under U.S. Law (Item 51), credits Cantú for his "groundbreaking" research and former UCI sociologist Nancy Naples for continuing his legacy.
Women's immigration is another vibrant research area, in a field where popular and academic attention often primarily focuses on immigrant men. As sociologist Pierrette Hondagneu-Sotelo has pointed out, research on gender and immigration has moved from non-existent, to studying women immigrants, to its current focus on viewing gendered social relations as part and parcel of immigrant lives[viii]. Studies like those on display seek to document and address the varied and gendered lives of immigrants (Items 52 and 53).
|The UC Irvine Libraries
|UC Irvine Libraries | University of California, Irvine | Irvine, CA 92623 | 949.824.6836|
© 2009 The Regents of the University of California. All Rights Reserved.