Document Type


Publication Date

Winter 2013

Publication Citation

20 Indiana Journal of Global Legal Studies 109 (2013)


To analyze the forms of membership that are created in the gap between formal citizenship and social belonging, this paper takes up three examples of citizenship in the breach: (1) the 1980-1992 Salvadoran civil war, in which human rights abuses perpetrated in El Salvador effectively constituted Salvadoran migrants as stateless persons, though technically they held Salvadoran citizenship; (2) informal U.S. membership claims put forward by longtime U.S. residents who were deported to El Salvador; and (3) the legal or documentary problems that emerge when legal permanent residents, some of whom immigrated to the United States from El Salvador during the 1980s, seek to naturalize or petition for undocumented family members. Analyzing these three examples suggests that citizenship and informal membership are defined in relation to each other, and that in moving between official citizenship and its approximations, law itself moves between legal fictions and legal realities.

Globalization and the Law: The Next Twenty Years. Indiana University Maurer School of Law, Bloomington, Indiana, April 5-6, 2012