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The far reaching effects of immigration

Charleston residents are aware of many policy, social reform and law changes that have been in the news regarding same-sex marriage over the tenure of the Obama administration. Some residents, however may be surprised at the connection between immigration reform and same-sex marriage policies.

Recently, a 72-year-old man of Australian decent was widowed by his husband and partner of over three decades. The Australian man's husband was an American citizen. The couple was married in another state in 1975. During that time, the county clerk in that state issued marriage licenses to gay couples. In 1975, the American spouse filed a petition for a green card for legal residence in the U.S. for his Australian partner. The U.S., however would not grant an immigration benefits to the newly married couple.

Now, the 72-year-old widow is bringing back the petition that his husband filed in 1975. The Obama administration has been more lenient on their policies toward gay marriage. The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services began issuing green cards to married same-sex couples in 2013.

Many families may struggle in their attempts to at permanent residence in the United States. While immigration reform may be on the horizon, most immigrants facing deportation want solutions now. Many immigrants may be eligible for green cards and not even be aware. There are strict deadlines when it comes to filing for green cards and particular guidelines that must be met.

Families -- of all kinds -- need to make sure they are aware of all the current immigration laws and understand all available options for obtaining legal residency in the United States.

Source: Fox News, "Australian man asks US government to reopen green card case after his American husband dies," April 21, 2014

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