Queer in a legal sense: Negation and negotiation of citizenship in Boutilier v. Immigration and Naturalization Service and Arturo Islas’s The Rain God

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This essay brings together the US Supreme Court’s Boutilier v. INS decision and Arturo Islas’s The Rain God to analyze the negation of homosexual and queer experience in the legal negotiation of access to citizenship. The article brings together methodological frameworks from literary, legal, queer, and Latina/o/x studies to argue that citizenship requires a narrative presence, one that immigration policy and its judicial interpretation has, until recently, refused to homosexual migrants. In analyzing The Rain God’s depiction of Felix as a legal intermediary between migrant laborers and US citizenship alongside standing immigration policy insistent on homosexual exclusion, this article demonstrates how homosexuality is leveraged not only against queer people, but also against their immediately surrounding communities to negate queer presence in US legal and cultural contexts.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)187-206
Number of pages20
JournalLatino Studies
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jun 1 2019
Externally publishedYes


  • Citizenship
  • Islas
  • Law
  • Migration
  • Sexuality

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cultural Studies
  • History
  • Sociology and Political Science

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