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Dems Want Clarity on Gay Bi-National Deportations

Dems Want Clarity on Gay Bi-National Deportations
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House Democrats have called on the Obama administration to issue more explicit guidelines stating that foreign-born same-sex partners of American citizens can remain in the country.

Rep. Jerrold Nadler (D-NY), House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and a total of 69 Democrats have written to the Department of Homeland Security and the Justice Department asking them to clarify that the administration’s recent shift in immigration policy to tackling high priority cases will mean that immigration proceedings involving bi-national same-sex couples will no longer be pursued by the administration.

From the Washington Blade:

“The recognition of LGBT family ties as a positive factor is a critical step forward in identifying key family and community ties to implement common-sense immigration enforcement,” the letter states. “We ask that you ensure that this recognition is reflected in the work of DHS and DOJ employees and the newly established working group in implementing your priorities for immigration enforcement.”


“Without specific guidance, it is unlikely that agency officers, agents, and attorneys making decisions about individual cases will be aware that LGBT family ties are a factor for consideration for exercising discretion in closing or not initiating removal proceedings,” the letter states.

Additionally, lawmakers ask that the working group include a member experienced in working with gay immigrants and their families to ensure that these factors are recognized in the working group’s case-by-case review of deportation cases.

“The vulnerability of LGBT immigrants — the historical stigmatization of whom both within and outside the U.S. is well-documented — makes knowledgeable review a necessity,” the letter states.

The 1996 Defense of Marriage Act bars the federal government from recognizing same-sex marriages which for the purposes of immigration means that an American-born citizen in a same-sex marriage cannot sponsor their foreign-born partner for citizenship. This has led to numerous cases where same-sex couples have been split up due to no fault of their own.

The Obama administration announced back in August that it would be implementing a new case-by-case review process so that the administration can determine which cases are high priority and which are low priority and pursue them accordingly. Obviously, for same-sex couples who have followed immigration rules closely and would otherwise qualify for spousal sponsorship, this could save gay bi-national couples from being separated.

This action served to build on a June 17 memo from the administration that spelled out immigration officials have discretionary powers to assess which cases they feel to be a priority — this order was not explicitly LGBT inclusive, so the administration’s later statement affirming LGBT inclusion is of considerable importance.

However, LGBT immigration groups have warned that without explicit guidance saying officials should not pursue foreign born partners in same-sex relationships who fulfill all other legal requirements for citizenship, it is likely that deportation cases will still occur and that even if they are abandoned further down the line they will still be costly and hurtful to those involved.

You can read the full letters over on the next page.


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Image used under the Creative Commons Attribution License with thanks to Atomische Tom Giebel

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11:47AM PDT on Oct 3, 2011

So are no longer "pro-gay" because there are other priorities? Why does one negate the other? Are you now "anti-gay" because humans have ruined the economy? WHY do living human beings have to suffer now and not have your support because of something that they have not even caused. Get a grip.

8:32PM PDT on Oct 1, 2011

I used tyo be pro-gay, but getting it slapped in our faces day in and day out has changed my mind. We need to worry more about the state of our country.....financially and environmentally. We should be worried about people out of work, not having a home, starving, the planet dying due to pollution and us with it. These are priorities!

11:34AM PDT on Oct 1, 2011

noted with thanks, hey by the way the couple in this photo look very happy.
I love happy and positive people. Good luck!

9:14PM PDT on Sep 30, 2011

It's not a foreign or immigrant's a gay thing that seem to be the problem.... how much clarifying or how much explanation do they need?????....maybe one day soon!!!!

8:09PM PDT on Sep 30, 2011

The problem is that many of these men and women who have been deported WERE married, in the states that allowed this. DOMA is being upheld in the immigration courts even tho it has been dumped elsewhere and is NOT being upheld by anywhere else.

7:52PM PDT on Sep 30, 2011

Here's a notion: let Gay and Lesbian couple get legally married. Then the foreigh-born spouse has a legal sponsor who has accepted a legal responsibility to support him/her -- in addition to having the moral and emotional responsibility, I mean.

We let foreign-born spouses into the country every day as legal immigrants, even though they may have come from countries with whom we are not especially friendly. If they marry someone after arriving in this country, they have legal status to remain here.

The issue here is not the "foreign" part, nor is it the "immigrant" part, and we all know it. It's the Gay part, and that makes it discrimination and bigotry.

6:43PM PDT on Sep 30, 2011


3:10PM PDT on Sep 30, 2011

Scott L. A het spouse can stay and stay. Because they are married to an American citizen.

Because of DOMA The Feds don't recognize the fact that LGBT couples, legally married by Connecticut, Iowa, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New York, Vermont, plus Washington, D.C. and Oregon's Coquille or Washington state's Suquamish Indian tribes.

So, the law says that other states must give full faith and credit to the laws of the originating state, but they don't. Neither does the Federal government. Married is married and once married anyone should have the same ability to receive the protection of the law.

2:00PM PDT on Sep 30, 2011

Scott L, one should know the LAWS of our land before opening ones mouth and putting foot in it.

12:33PM PDT on Sep 30, 2011

No Scott L. "we" aren't demanding an exemption, we are demanding that our rights be recognized. A Married heterosexual's partner is granted the right to stay, homosexual partners are not Federally recognized and that has to change.

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