Published: May 2, 2014

As House Speaker John Boehner hints that immigration reform might yet have a chance at passage, we take a look at the flip side of the immigrant story – emigration – and find stories of Americans who left this country in search of a better life elsewhere, and sometimes, a fuller realization of American values.

From the Loyalists who fled to Canada in the wake of the Revolution, to the free blacks who sailed to Liberia in search of freedom (and a spot at the top of the racial hierarchy), to the Depression-era refugees who sought a better life in the Soviet Union, we ask who’s chosen to leave America, and what parts of their American identities they’ve taken with them.