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Deportation Guidelines To Officially Define Same-Sex Couples As Families

Society & Culture  (tags: gayrights, Nancy Pelosi, Immigration, Gay Marriage, Video, Defense Of Marriage Act, Department Of Homeland Security, Immigration And Customs Enforcement, Janet Napolitano, Jerry Nadler, Mike Honda, Morton Memo, Binational Couples, Deportation, Dhs, Dsocie )

- 1637 days ago -
Janet Napolitano said Thursday that she will instruct immigration agents to consider same-sex relationships the same as heterosexual ones in determining whether an individual should be deported

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JL A (282)
Friday September 28, 2012, 5:15 pm


September 28, 2012 EDT
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Deportation Guidelines To Officially Define Same-Sex Couples As Families

Posted: 09/28/2012 12:56 pm EDT Updated: 09/28/2012 5:34 pm EDT

WASHINGTON -- Department of Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano said Thursday that she will instruct immigration agents to consider same-sex relationships the same as heterosexual ones in determining whether an individual should be deported, a victory for advocates and members of Congress who worried verbal instructions could be ignored.

Although the administration had previously told reporters and others that same-sex relationships will be taken into account when making deportation decisions, putting it in writing for field officers is considered to be an important change.

"This is a huge step forward," Rachel B. Tiven, executive director of gay rights and reform group Immigration Equality, said in a statement. "Until now, LGBT families and their lawyers had nothing to rely on but an oral promise that prosecutorial discretion would include all families. Today, DHS has responded to Congress and made that promise real."

DHS released guidelines in 2011 instructing agents to consider a variety of factors -- including family relationships, the age an individual came to the U.S. and other ties to the country -- when determining whether the immigrant is high-priority for deportation.

More than 80 House Democrats, led by Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), Rep. Mike Honda (D-Calif.) and Rep. Jerry Nadler (D-N.Y.), called in late July for the Department of Homeland Security to add a specific mention of same-sex couples to its guidelines.

Napolitano responded on Thursday to that letter with individual, but identical, messages to each of those members. There will be official guidance next week to ICE offices around the country.

"In an effort to make clear the definition of the phrase 'family relationships,' I have directed ICE to disseminate written guidance to the field that the interpretation of the phrase 'family relationships' includes long-term, same-sex partners," she wrote in the letter. "As with every other factor identified in Director Morton's June 11 memorandum, the applicability of the 'family relationships' factor is weighed on an individualized basis in the consideration of whether prosecutorial discretion is appropriate in a given case."

Honda, one of the signatories of the letter, said in a statement Friday that he will continue to push for immigration reform legislation, such as his Reuniting American Families Act, which would allow Americans to petition for legal status for their same-sex partners in the same way heterosexual couples can.

"No one should have to choose between their spouse and their country, and no family should be left out of the immigration system," he said in a statement.

Judy Rickard, an American, and her partner, Karin Bogliolo, who is a British citizen, heard the news on Thursday from Honda. Bogliolo entered the country legally under a tourist visa, and is still authorized to stay because her application for a green card is pending. But her application could be turned down because the federal government does not recognize same-sex couples under the Defense of Marriage Act.

"We're glad beyond measure that someone is recognizing our status and making us safer," Rickard said. "It doesn't solve everything, but I'm confident now that Karin won't be told to leave the country."


John B (182)
Friday September 28, 2012, 6:43 pm
Thanks J.L. for the link to the Huffington Post article by Elise Foley. Kudos to Secretary Napolitano and to all the other who have pushed for this to be put in writing. Progress for the LBGTQ community is moving forward albeit slowly. Read and gratefully noted.

JL A (282)
Friday September 28, 2012, 6:46 pm
You cannot currently send a star to John because you have done so within the last week.

Yeah, John, so much can fall "between the lines" when it is unwritten.

Barbara T (431)
Saturday September 29, 2012, 10:36 am
Bit by bit, the unreasoning prejudice erodes...

There is not a SINGLE argument against Gay marriage, that is NOT religion-based. NOT ONE. NADA.
Complete Marriage Equality, therefore, MEANS ultimately getting the Church, and its pernicious and self-serving doctrines, separate from the State...

JL A (282)
Saturday September 29, 2012, 10:58 am
You cannot currently send a star to BMutiny because you have done so within the last week.

Barbara T (431)
Saturday September 29, 2012, 12:32 pm
You may also want to go to this recent News Item:

"What does Gay really mean? a deeper truth..."

This is a very beautiful article by a therapist, from the Seattle Gay News.
It puts being Gay in a new perspective, from the way it has been discussed before.
EVERYONE on Care2 should read this article! and pass it on to their loved ones...

[It is of course, VERY pertinent to this article; as immigration laws should not be used to break up FAMILIES, and people who LOVE each other and are committed to one another.]

The above-mentioned article is a really important one in changing consciousness and awareness EVERYWHERE.....
please see it spread widely!

. (0)
Sunday September 30, 2012, 12:39 pm
I'm really not clear on this. Is this giving citizenship to an illegal if he/she is in a relationship? What if their state does not allow gay marriage? Does the same law apply?

JL A (282)
Sunday September 30, 2012, 1:30 pm
Allan: It doesn't give citizenship; it permits a delay of deportation efforts and allows family units/couples to remain together. Many get married/got married in other states if their home state did not permit. Many states that do not do such marriages yet honor those from other states.

Joe R (190)
Monday October 1, 2012, 7:49 am
About time! Thank you Janet Napolitano and J.L.!

JL A (282)
Monday October 1, 2012, 8:28 am
You cannot currently send a star to Joe because you have done so within the last week.

pam w (139)
Monday October 1, 2012, 10:06 am

Robert O (12)
Monday October 1, 2012, 12:33 pm
Good to hear. People deserve a chance to stay together regardless of sexual orientation, race, country of origin, etc.

JL A (282)
Monday October 1, 2012, 12:38 pm
You cannot currently send a star to Robert because you have done so within the last week.
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