San Diego Law Review


Janet M. Calvo

Library of Congress Authority File


Document Type



The notion of coverture is that a wife is subordinate to her husband and under his control. This Article describes the common law doctrine of coverture, and the history and impact of coverture in current immigration law. The Article examines the incorporation of the assumptions of coverture into early immigration laws and the failure of Congress to remove coverture premises from more recent immigration legislation. The impact of the law's perpetuation of coverture, or spouse domination, is described. The Article shows that the immigrants harmed by the spouse domination perpetuated by the law are overwhelmingly women. The author proposes legislative and administrative changes to address the legacies of coverture in the immigration law.