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Another case to test gay marriage and green cards

We have recently discussed the struggle bi-national gay couples face when one spouse is at risk of deportation because the Defense of Marriage Act, which prevents the federal government from recognizing a same-sex marriage, stands in the way of applying for a green card.

We have also discussed how even after the Obama administration announced that it would not defend the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) in courts anymore, it merely created ambiguity and questions surrounding bi-national gay spouses being granted a green card, or a ticket to naturalization in the United States.

Just like in any situation where the laws are unclear, trailblazing cases are needed. This week, national news outlets reported that two gay men who were legally married in Connecticut last year will be the most recent couple to test the Obama administration's policies on immigration and gay marriage.

One of the men is a 47-year-old Venezuelan citizen with an expired visa. The other man is a United States citizen who wants to sponsor his partner for a green card in effort to keep their family intact. On Wednesday, an immigration judge granted the couple a stay of execution on the 47-year-old's deportation for at least two years. In the meantime, the couple plans to press the federal government to recognize their union and stop the deportation proceedings altogether.

In a similar case just last month, the Obama administration stopped the deportation of a Venezuelan citizen, a 27-year-old who also legally married his United States citizen same-sex partner in Connecticut. Even though the deportation proceedings were dropped in that case, the Department of Homeland Security did not make changes to DOMA, which some experts in the field say is problematic.

"This is another instance of the Obama administration's abuse of executive authority on behalf of select groups of removable aliens that it thinks are sympathetic to make a run around Congress and provide amnesty to as many illegal aliens as possible," the director of policy students at the Washington's Center for Immigration Studies told

Instead, the Obama Administration should make a change to policy rather than going around it and possibly "destroy[ing] the credibility" of immigration law in the country, she said.

Source:, "New Deportation Case Tests Obama Administration on Gay Marriage," 7/13/2011.

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