USCIS Decision to Temporarily Honor Gay Marriages in Deportation Cases Does an About-Face

by admin on April 19, 2011

A recent statement by the US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) on March 29th, 2011 announced that deportation cases involving gay immigrants in same-sex marriages to an American citizen would be temporarily halted. The USCIS announcement provided details of its decision to temporarily suspend such cases while it awaited final guidance related to legal issues surrounding the deportation cases, in order to comply with President Obama’s recent instructions to stop defending the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) in court. Numerous gay rights groups were reportedly celebrating this announcement as a sign of hope for the eventual striking down of DOMA and issuance of green cards to foreign spouses of an American partner in same-sex marriages.  

However, an article appearing the next day, March 30th, in The Advocate reports that USCIS has now decided to lift the halt on deportation cases involving same sex bi-national couples, and will continue to enforce the law under DOMA. The USCIS stated that it had received the legal guidance it was waiting for, in order to proceed with the deportation cases involving same-sex married bi-national couples. For now, DOMA will still be enforced as it is the current federal law governing these types of cases.

There are currently several legal challenges pending against DOMA, and bills to repeal DOMA are still being considered by both the House and Senate.

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