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López studies citizenship, immigration, and the law, primarily through the lens of mixed-citizenship couples (couples composed of individuals from two different countries/with two different citizenships). Her work seeks to expose issues generated by conflicts between laws directed towards citizens and those targeting immigrants and encourage policy solutions that will improve the lives of citizens and immigrants alike. Before pursuing her PhD, López worked as a policy advocate for two San Diego non-profits advocating for environmental and social justice in low-income communities of color. She continues to lobby for social justice in her community and through her work.
Demonstrates that the experience of citizenship can be significantly enhanced or diminished without undergoing a change in personal legal citizenship status, but rather as a result of family-level citizenship.
Exposes the family-level effects of citizenship and reveals that immigration and citizenship laws focused on individuals can reach beyond those individuals to their family members. Argues that citizens in mixed-citizenship marriages are obliged by the law to live the immigrant experience because of their spouses’ immigrant status.
Examines how President Obama used executive action to secure support from Latino voters despite his inability to deliver comprehensive immigration reform.