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Moral lines of credit: Forging race projects, citizenship, and nation on online U.S. spousal reunification forums

Gina Marie Longo

Mig. Pol. 1, 005 (2022) · published 24 October 2022


This study investigates how U.S. citizens petitioning for “green cards” on behalf of foreign national spouses uphold the U.S. racial project as they navigate the spousal reunification process. It also explores the role of online communities as crucial “brokers” and mediators between citizen, noncitizen, and the state. This work troubles the dichotomy between immigration officers/couples while giving primacy to the citizen-spouse’s voices. Using content analysis of an online forum where petitioners exchange advice with similar others, I show the citizen’s complicity with the racialized hierarchical order of the American nation. Ultimately, family migration policies and regulations are exercises in state-building, and nation-building, and citizens partake in it while trying to secure their own family, disciplining themselves to align with the state’s ideal of what a proper future nation should look like.

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