Gay Costa Rican Man Gets US Deportation Reprieve


A gay man originally from Costa Rica has been spared deportation from the US by a Houston immigration judge based partly on his marriage to another man.


A gay Costa Rican immigrant has been spared from deportation by a Houston immigration judge based in large part on his marriage to a U.S. citizen, the immigrant’s attorney said.

Judge Richard Walton on Thursday administratively closed the deportation case against David Gonzalez, an accountant who married a U.S. citizen in California in 2008, said John Nechman, his attorney.

Immigrant and gay advocates heralded the case as the first in Texas to end in a reprieve based in large part on a same-sex marriage to a U.S. citizen.

“It’s great news,” said Steve Ralls, a spokesman for Immigration Equality, which advocates for equality under U.S. immigration law for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people. “It’s consistent with similar actions we are seeing in other cases with lesbian and gay couples.”

Gonzalez met Mario Ramirez, a U.S. born citizen, more than six years ago and the couple married in Los Angeles in 2008 during the brief period when same-sex marriage was legal.

They subsequently bought a house in Humble, Texas, and are reportedly planning on adopting children.

The federal Defense of Marriage Act bans the federal government from recognizing same-sex marriages. This means that even if a same-sex couple are married and the applicants fulfill all other terms needed for a marriage based residency, they will likely still be refused one.

The Obama administration announced back in August that it would be implementing a new case-by-case review process so that the administration could 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 them 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, this does not spare them the financial and emotional burden of having to go through court proceedings, and specifically in Gonzalez’s case, while he is no longer a priority for deportation, he remains disadvantaged by the fact that he still has no legal right to work in the United States.


Related Reading:

How does DOMA Hurt Same-Sex Couples?

Bankruptcy Court: Defense of Marriage Act Unconstitutional

CREW Files Ethics Complaint Against Boehner Regarding DOMA Defense

Image used under the Creative Commons Attribution License with thanks to steakpinball.


Kristen H.
Kristen H6 years ago

Hallelujah, praise God! -- the REAL God, the God of love. Not the warped and hateful pretend God that the far Right would have us believe is in charge.

Winn Adams
Winn A6 years ago


Christy Elamma
Christy Elamma6 years ago

It's about time. They deserve the same rights as straight couples. And to David N. and any others out there- if you are a heterosexual couple who got married and one was an 'illegal', they are pretty much always granted permanent residency because they are married to an American citizen.

Marilyn L.
Marilyn L6 years ago


Christopher C.
Chris C6 years ago

David N said: "Are you an illegal immigrant? Have you been found out and are facing being sent home? Tell the government you're gay and get a free pass!"

What if this were about a straight couple and the man or woman was from Costa Rica and they got married? Then an article like this wouldn't even be on Care2 and we wouldn't even be having this discussion.

Christopher C.
Chris C6 years ago

Past Member...can't understand you at times. You make wonderful posts elsewhere, but then make posts like you did below that are so childish! Grow-up

Deanna J.
Deanna J6 years ago


The US needs to provide more safety to minority refugees. All too often we slap on a "deported" sticker and send people who genuinely need refuge back to their deaths.

@Mitch D.

Past Member needs to go back in time about 10000 years. Maybe then their opinion would have fit in with the other cavemen's grunting sounds.

Mitch D.
Mitch D6 years ago

Excellent news... and as for this idiot "past member"... please use your time machine and go back more than 100 years or so?

Julie F.
Julie F6 years ago

great news!

Past Member
Past Member 6 years ago

another email, another gay story, they are bringing it on themselves, keep your poo stabbing to yourselves. thanks