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Immigration Marriage

Obama Administration moves one step closer to greater freedom for immigrant partners in Same Sex relationship. There are immigrants, there are Same Sex couples, and then there are same sex couples in which one partner is an immigrant. While all of these groups suffer in terms of liberties, it not surprising that the latter group sees the least amount of liberties.Same Sex PartnersUntil recently, for example, in a deportation case of an immigrant who is in a Same Sex relationship, his or her partner would not be considered a family member. Last Friday, however, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi announced that the Obama Administration has directed ICE to include long-term Same Sex Couples in its interpretation of “family member.”

Same Sex Couples Interpretation

While Pelosi appreciates Janet Napolitano’s directive to recognize Same Sex couples, she believes that more must be done for immigrant Same Sex couples, and all Same Sex couples in general. Under the 1996 Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), the federal government is restricted from extending federal benefits to married Same Sex couples. This barring of federal benefits, such as Social Security, is not only detrimental to couples, but it has been declared unconstitutional by Attorney General Eric Holder and President Obama.Next month, the U.S. Supreme Court is expected to decide whether or not it will review certain cases that question the constitutionality of DOMA. In the meanwhile, there are hundreds of Same Sex couples that are suffering as a result of DOMA and scores of Same Sex couples with an immigrant partner that are undergoing additional hardships.Same Sex CouplesOne such case is that of the married couple Brian Willingham and Alfonso Garcia; they are continuously struggling to be considered one another’s family member with immigration authorities. After a traffic stop, Garcia, who entered the country at the age of 14 from Mexico, was given a deportation order. Until the Obama administration issued the directive to consider long-term, Same Sex couples family members, Garcia and Willingham struggled to prove their relation.

Same Sex Couples Directive

This directive is a just another step forward as it will serve as written guidance for immigration officials. It will work to help those families who are on the verge of being torn apart by deportation. This federal recognition of Same Sex couples as family members seems to place new hope for not only for immigration, but also for the LGBTQ community. We hope, now, that this step is one of many to help immigrant partners in Same Sex relationships. If you would like to speak with one of our experiences Attorneys regarding a same sex relationship matter, call us 212-944-9071 or contact us to schedule a consultation.
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