Love Across Borders
“A book designed to change minds and hearts. What are we fighting for, after all, if not a world where love can be truly free?” —Sarah Jaffe, author of Work Won't Love You Back and Necessary TroubleWe are told that love conquers all, but what happens when you don’t have the right passport? With deep empathy, rigorous reporting, and the irresistible perspective of a true romantic, journalist Anna Lekas Miller tells the stories of couples around the world who must confront Kafkaesque immigration systems to be together—as she did to be with her husband.
Love Across Borders takes readers through contentious frontiers around the world, from Turkey to Iraq, Syria to Greece, Mexico to the United States, to reveal the widespread prejudicial laws intent on dividing us. Lekas Miller tells her own gripping story of meeting Salem Rizk, in Istanbul, where they were both reporting on the Syrian civil war. But when Turkey started cracking down on refugees, Salem, who is Syrian, wasn’t allowed to stay there, nor could he safely return to Syria. He was a man without a country. So Lekas Miller had to decide her next move: she had an American passport but deep personal ties to the Middle East, and she knew it was unfair that Salem couldn’t travel freely the way she could. More important, she loved him.
Over the next few years, as they navigated Salem’s asylum claims, the United States’ Muslim ban, and labyrinthine regulations in several different countries, Lekas Miller learned about—and naturally bonded with—other people whose spouses had been deported, who found love in refugee camps, whose differing immigration statuses caused complicated power dynamics and financial hardship in their relationships or threatened the wellbeing of their children. Here, offering a uniquely diverse, international, and intimate look at the global immigration crisis, she collects and interweaves these rich love stories with a fascinating look at the history of passports (a shockingly recent institution), the legacy of colonialism, and the discriminatory laws shaping how people move through the world every day.
Ultimately, she builds a powerful, moving case for a borderless society—one where she and Salem could move freely to be near family or back to the city that first let them fall in love, and where a border patrol agent can’t keep anyone’s love story from its happy ending.