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Posts Tagged ‘Immigration Equality Action Fund Blog’

29th March 2011

It recently came to this blogger’s attention that it would appear as though the Department of Homeland Security‘s United States Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS) is placing certain deportations on hold if such a proceeding pertains to the same sex spouse of a United States Citizen or Lawful Permanent Resident. To quote directly from the website dailynews-update.net:

The U.S. Citizen and Immigration Service confirmed Monday that it has temporarily put some deportations of partners in same-sex marriages on hold if they could be affected by the recent Department of Justice decision to no longer defend the Defense of Marriage Act.

Chris Bentley, Press Secretary for the USCIS said in a statement: “USCIS has issued guidance to the field asking that related cases be held in abeyance while awaiting final guidance related to distinct legal issues.”

The administration of this blog highly recommends that readers click on the above links to view this story in its entirety.

There are many “distinct legal issues” at play when it comes to the issue of same sex marriage and governmental recognition thereof. Those who read this web log with any frequency may have noticed that this blogger has dedicated a great deal of time to commenting and following this issue as it is truly a struggle for both the civil rights of American Citizens and Lawful Permanent Residents as well as a struggle for Federal recognition of sovereign State prerogatives on the issue of marriage.

Throughout the struggle for equal marriage rights for the LGBT community there have been many legislators who have supported the cause of same sex bi-national couples. Most notably, Representative Jerrold Nadler has repeatedly introduced legislation such as the Uniting American Families Act (UAFA) in an effort to make headway in securing immigration benefits for same sex bi-national couples in the same manner accorded to their different-sex counterparts. Meanwhile, as noted on this blog, groups such as Immigration Equality and their Immigration Equality Action Fund Blog have recently announced a position regarding DHS issuance of Green Cards for foreign same sex partners of American Citizens and Lawful Permanent Residents. Announcements such as these are important because they illuminate the extent to which the political and immigration systems are evolving in an effort to deal with this issue. Clearly, the LGBT equal rights movement has an organic base committed to seeing real change in the immigration system.

It was recently noted on this blog that the Obama administration’s Attorney General Eric Holder issued a letter to the Speaker of the House of Representatives noting that the administration no longer felt that pursuing so-called “Defense of Marriage Act“  (DOMA) cases was Constitutional. There are some who would argue that this action is contrary to the administration’s duty pursuant to United States law. Some members of Congress, as well as apparent presidential hopeful Newt Gingrich, have even made noises about impeachment regarding this issue. As of the time of this writing, such an action has not taken place.

This blogger personally disagrees with the American administration’s decision not to pursue DOMA cases because doing so could preclude Supreme Court adjudication due to lack of a “case or controversy” before that body. This blogger would also argue that the Supreme Court is the best adjudicator of this issue as there are many ramifications of same sex marriage recognition pursuant to the provisions of the Full Faith and Credit Clause of the United States Constitution.

How the whole issue of same sex marriage, and American government recognition thereof; will ultimately be decided remains to be seen, but for advocates of equal LGBT immigration rights this recent USCIS decision is definitely a positive one.

For related information please see: LGBT visa.

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21st March 2011

It recently came to this blogger’s attention that the Immigration Equality Action Fund Blog is reporting that Americans are calling upon the Department of Homeland Security to change its policy regarding Lawful Permanent Resident status for LGBT spouses of American Citizens and Lawful Permanent Residents. To quote directly from the Immigration Equality Action Fund Blog:

In an interview published last night, Immigration Equality executive director Rachel B. Tiven calls on the Department of Homeland Security to stop denying green card applications filed by spouses of LGBT Americans.

Those who are unaware of the issues surrounding the debate for equal immigration benefits for the LGBT community should note that pursuant to the so-called “Defense of Marriage Act” (DOMA) the United States Federal government is prohibited from granting immigration benefits to same sex bi-national couples even though such benefits are routinely granted to different-sex couples. Meanwhile, a number of sovereign American States have heeded the call of their citizenry and taken measures which would allow legal recognition for marriages between individuals of the same sex. Notwithstanding that a marriage may be legalized and solemnized by a sovereign US State, such as Massachusetts, for example; the Federal government still will not recognize said marriage pursuant to the provisions of DOMA. To quote further from the Immigration Equality Action Fund Blog:

“It is imperative that the administration stop breaking up families based on a law that it says is unconstitutional,” Tiven told reporter Andrew Harmon. “We’re calling on the Department of Homeland Security to stop denying green card applications for the spouses of American citizens.”

As noted above, the result of continued enforcement of DOMA in an immigration context is the constant and continued partition of bi-national families. It would appear as though proponents of equal LGBT rights are hoping that DHS can take some steps to alleviate what is, for some, an increasingly untenable situation. To quote further from the Immigration Equality Action Fund Blog:

Representatives Jerrold Nadler (D-NY) and Zoe Lofgren (D-CA) – both important leaders on LGBT and immigration issues in Congress – joined Immigration Equality’s call for a halt to deportations involving legally married spouses. New York Senator Kirsten Gillibrand also weighed in, telling reporters that, ““The recent news of deportations involving legally married gay and lesbian binational couples is heartbreaking.”

This blogger highly encourages readers to click on the above links to learn more about the Immigration Equality Action Fund and the struggle for equal rights in the LGBT community. It should be noted that Representative Jerrold Nadler has been a strong proponent of legislation such as the Uniting American Families Act (UAFA), legislation designed to provide immigration benefits to same sex bi-national couples.

There have been many sovereign US States that have shown “true grit” in the struggle for equal LGBT rights, privileges, immunities, and protections. States such as Massachusetts, Iowa, Rhode Island, Vermont, New Hampshire, Connecticut as well as the District of Columbia have shown support for the struggle of equal rights for LGBT families. Meanwhile, continued enforcement of the provisions of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) keep bi-national same sex couples from attaining equal immigration benefits when compared to their different-sex counterparts.

The issue of same sex marriage and equal rights for same sex couples is something that some have suggested is a divisive issue, but in this blogger’s opinion it need not be. For example, this blogger comes from a State (the State of Kansas) that explicitly forbids same sex marriage (yes, notwithstanding the State of Kansas’s position on same sex marriage this blogger feels that the right to marry whom one chooses is a civil right guaranteed to individuals under the U.S. Constitution that should be granted to those in Kansas as well as everywhere else in the USA, but the following analysis is primarily concerned with the same sex marriage issue in an interstate context). There are some who argue that this means that the State Courts are barred from recognizing same sex marriages legalized in other States. This blogger would argue that a different interpretation of the Full Faith and Credit Clause would allow a State such as Kansas to acknowledge that a legal marriage between two people of the same sex exists in fact in another American jurisdiction (say, Massachusetts, for example). Concurrently, the provisions of a State Constitution may prohibit any further State recognition or execution of a same sex divorce, but such a scenario is certainly better than the current state of affairs where no same sex couples are granted any type of Federal or interstate marital recognition at all. That said, none of these issues has yet to be fully resolved so any analysis remains speculation.

For related information please see: same sex visas.

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