Amor and Exile is Headed to Washington!

Martin Jacobsen / Wikimedia Commons
Martin Jacobsen / Wikimedia Commons

BOISE, Idaho and QUERÉTARO, Mexico—Independent journalist Nathaniel Hoffman and writer-in-exile Nicole Salgado successfully raised enough funds—almost $12,000—to deliver copies of their new book, Amor and Exile: True Stories of Love Across America’s Borders, to every member of Congress. 228 individuals from a supporter base of over 500 people representing more than 28 states underwrote the “Send Amor and Exile to Washington” campaign. Hoffman and Salgado will travel to Washington, D.C. on June 12 and 13 to shed light on the plight of American citizens forced to live underground or in exile because of their relationships with undocumented immigrants.

“My memoir in Amor and Exile tells of my twelve-year experience being negatively affected by immigration law, and I’m excited that our elected representatives will finally have the opportunity to read about families like mine while they’re debating the biggest overhaul of our immigration laws in decades,” said Salgado, who lives in Querétaro, Mexico with her husband, Margarito, who is banned from returning to the United States for at least three more years. “It’s so gratifying to receive such overwhelming support from the broader community in sending our message—the stories of many—to Congress when it’s needed most.”

Hoffman and Salgado
Hoffman and Salgado outside Salgado’s home in Querétaro, Mexico

Across the United States, American citizens are forced underground, exiled abroad and separated from their spouses for a surprising reason. Amor and Exile is the story of these Americans—including Veronica, Ben, J.W., and Nicole—who fall in love with undocumented immigrants only to find themselves trapped in a legal labyrinth, stymied by their country’s de facto exclusion of their partners.

Hoffman, who covered immigration at newspapers for a decade, found the frustration that American citizens face when they marry immigrants who are subject to bans—or who are not even eligible for family-based visas in the case of gay and lesbian couples—was one of the most misunderstood aspects of our immigration system.

“Every time I explain what the book is about, someone insists that Americans can marry whomever they want and get them a green card,” Hoffman said. “Well, it just doesn’t work that way and hundreds of thousands of Americans have learned this the hard way.”

Hoffman visited both sides of the border to document the lives of these couples caught in the crossfire of America’s high stakes political fight over immigration. In his disarming and precise style, Hoffman also traces the historical relationship between immigration, love and marriage. Lending an authentic voice to Amor and Exile, Salgado delivers a searing first-person account of life in the U.S. with her husband while he was undocumented, her tortured decision to leave the country with him, and their seven years of exile and starting over together in Mexico.

Amor and Exile tells of love that transcends borders—a story shared by hundreds of thousands of U.S. citizens—cutting through the immigration debate rhetoric and providing a courageous perspective for one of the most vexing policy problems of our time.

About the Campaign and Launch of Amor and Exile
The “Send Amor and Exile to Washington” crowdfunding campaign ended June 1 on, with full funding, allowing Hoffman and Salgado to launch their book in D.C. at a critical moment in the Congressional debate over immigration reform. Notes from individual funders to their members of Congress about the need for immigration reform will be delivered along with copies of the book.

Amor and Exile will be released to the public on Monday, June 10th, published under Hoffman and Salgado’s new imprint, Cordillera West Books. Book readings—the only two readings scheduled with Hoffman and Salgado together in 2013—will be held on Thursday, June 13th in Washington, D.C., and 6 p.m., Saturday, June 15th at Ukazoo Books in Baltimore. Check our Calendar for details in a few days …