Integrity Legal

Posts Tagged ‘Legal’

15th July 2021

As the first two weeks of the “Phuket Sandbox” scheme have elapsed, it appears that program is gaining increasing momentum in terms of tourist interest. Although the program has not been without issues as recent arrivals testing positive for COVID-19 have created situations where Alternative State Local Quarantine measures have been undertaken. That stated, the overall program seems to be proceeding smoothly and offers a glimmer of hope for the Thai tourism industry. It should be noted that the Phuket Sandbox is not reserved for tourists, it is possible for those with a non-immigrant visa to use the Phuket Sandbox as well.

Meanwhile, the island resort of Samui is reopening in a limited capacity to foreign tourists. The Samui Sandbox, or what some have dubbed the Samui corridor (due to the sealed pipeline of travelers transitioning through Bangkok), has commenced in recent days although there seems to be less than optimal demand for this program compared to its Phuket counterpart. To quote directly from a recent article titled “No foreign tourists on first day of Samui reopening” in The Nation:

Only 11 foreigners – all members of the media – will take the Bangkok Airways flight from Bangkok to Samui on Thursday, according to the Koh Samui Tourism Promotion Association. “We do not expect a lot of travellers to visit Thailand in the third quarter this year as the rise in the country’s daily Covid-19 cases would affect their confidence,” association chairman Ratchaporn Poolsawas said on Wednesday. “However, what we can do is start tourist operations in line with standard procedure in a bid to stimulate the country’s tourism.”

Clearly, demand for the Samui project is not as robust as some might hope. However, as the weeks go by the Samui program may prove to be a desired destination for future tourists. Also, it may prove to be an alternative to the Phuket Sandbox in a hypothetical situation where the Phuket program must be rolled back even though this does not appear to be a likely possibility as of the time of this writing.

While positive news abounds for Phuket and Samui, Bangkok remains under severe lockdown conditions presumably throughout the remainder of July. Restaurants cannot provide dine-in services, alcohol service of all kinds are banned, shopping malls are closed, and the city remains in a de facto state of severe lockdown. When exactly this will end remains to be seen as calls from within Thailand and in other jurisdictions are being made for a paradigm shift in the way pandemic response is undertaken with some arguing that the containment strategy is no longer viable especially in light of the devastating economic impact these measures have had and which will presumably continue should these policies continue to be enforced.

While the American Embassy in Thailand continues to provide US visa interviews and other routine services (albeit in a rather truncated manner) some have argued that the Embassy should provide vaccinations for expats Americans. As of the time of this writing, the Embassy has stated this service will not be provided and it seems unlikely this will change any time soon.

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14th March 2020

We have been trying to keep up on the news regarding Coronavirus (also know as COVID-19) in #Thailand. In prior posts on this blog we noted that a number of countries have had their visa on arrival or 30 day stamp privileges suspended. It now appears that Americans coming to Thailand will need to deal with new protocols upon entry. To quote directly from a recent Health Alert from the US Embassy:

There is an ongoing outbreak of Coronavirus (COVID-19) first identified in Wuhan, China.  The global public health threat posed by COVID-19 is high, with more than 145,000 reported cases worldwide. The government of the Kingdom of Thailand has implemented enhanced screening and quarantine measures to reduce the spread of COVID-19.  On March 13, 2020, the Kingdom of Thailand’s Ministry of Public Health added the United States to its list of countries with ongoing local transmission. Travelers entering the Kingdom of Thailand who have been in the United States within the prior 14 days are subject to self-monitoring and reporting requirements.  There are no mandatory quarantine requirements in effect at this time for travelers arriving from the United States who do not display signs of infection.  Travelers should be prepared for travel restrictions to be put into effect with little or no advance notice.  Visit the website of Ministry of Public Health for additional information on these new measures.

We urge readers of this blog to click on the link above to read the complete announcement. Clearly, Thai officials are taking increasingly stringent precautions as the coronavirus pandemic continues to accelerate. It appears officials from the American Embassy will be assisting Americans where possible in the coming days. We will keep readers updated on this blog as the situation evolves.

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12th March 2020

It now appears that the previously discussed restrictions of visa exemption and visa on arrival privileges will be implemented. To quote a recent article from The Nation:

(Update) Beginning on Friday (March 13), visitors to Thailand from 18 countries will no longer be eligible for visas on arrival, Interior Minister Anupong Paochinda announced on Thursday…Anupong said visitors must apply for visas in their home countries and bring a certificate of sound health…Visitors from hard-hit locales Italy, South Korea and Hong Kong also become ineligible for visa-free entry, he said. The 18 countries are Bulgaria, Bhutan, Cyprus, Ethiopia, Fiji, Georgia, India, Kazakhstan, Malta, Mexico, Nauru, Papua New Guinea, Romania, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Uzbekistan, Vanuatu and “China (including Taiwan)”…Department of Consular Affairs’ director-general Chatree Atchananant said earlier today that there would be no official announcement of the measure until the Cabinet considers it on March 17, before Anupong came out later to confirm that the measure would be implemented tomorrow (March 13).

As evidenced from the back-and-forth noted above, the coronavirus (or COVID-19) pandemic is causing a great deal of confusion at a policy level as officials seem hard pressed to come to a coherent solution which will protect the uninfected while simultaneously having the least detrimental impact upon foreign tourism and the overall Thai economy.

As this situation continues we will update this blog accordingly.

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9th February 2020

The coronavirus has been in the news quite a bit in recent days. It appears that China is taking drastic measures to curtail movement of people domestically and internationally in an effort to curb transmission of the disease. This article will look at some of the responses to these circumstances from both the Thai and American Immigration perspective.

Prior to the coronavirus’s prominence as a concern for international health authorities, Thai Immigration officials seemed to be mulling over the notion of waiving the fees associated with Thai tourist visas for Chinese and Indian nationals. This seemed to have been discussed in response to what was viewed by some as a rather less-than-optimal high season. Presently, it seems unlikely that visa fees will be waived for the foreseeable future. This news came at the end of a year which saw Thai Immigration officials promulgating regulations which placed new requirements and scrutiny on those seeking long-stay visas (including retirement, marriage, and business visas). It seems policymakers in the Immigration sector were looking to encourage a higher volume of tourists while simultaneously enhancing scrutiny and on those wishing to live in Thailand for prolonged periods.

As of the time of this posting, the numbers of Chinese nationals entering Thailand as tourists have substantially dropped. This is likely due to the fact that many cities and regions in China have been effectively quarantined and travelers are precluded from departing many cities in China for Thailand, or anywhere else. Concurrently, Thai Immigration authorities in airports are taking measures to screen individuals entering the country. However, it seems China’s domestic travel policies seem to be curtailing more travelers than Thai immigration policy. Exactly how coronavirus-related developments will further impact Thai immigration and tourism policy remains to be seen.

Meanwhile, Coronavirus is impacting United States Immigration policy. However, as of the time of this writing it seems that the impact will not be substantial for those seeking US visas from places such as Thailand, Laos, or Cambodia as a recent proclamation from President Trump stated:

“I have determined that it is in the interests of the United States to take action to restrict and suspend the entry into the United States, as immigrants or nonimmigrants, of all aliens who were physically present within the People’s Republic of China, excluding the Special Administrative Regions of Hong Kong and Macau, during the 14-day period preceding their entry or attempted entry into the United States.”

This news comes after reports that US visas are currently not being issued in China. Clearly, the administration is taking the coronavirus seriously, but it does not seem likely that this will directly impact the bulk of visa seekers from Southeast Asia. The current policy only will pertain to those who have visited China relatively recently. Therefore those seeking visas who hail from other countries (such as member states of ASEAN), and have not visited China, are unlikely to be affected by the new American proclamation regarding the coronavirus.

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12th January 2012

It recently came to this blogger’s attention that the Prime Minister of the Kingdom of Thailand made no comment regarding the possibility of a Cabinet reshuffle although she did note that attendance at upcoming children’s day festivities is apparently encouraged by the Thai government. To quote directly from the official website of the Thai-ASEAN (Association of Southeast Asian Nations) News Network at

Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra avoided answering questions about a possible Cabinet reshuffle today and only smiled at reporters...The PM added that she would like to invite children to attend the Children’s Day celebration on Saturday at Government House as she has prepared some surprises for the kids…”

Concurrently it also came to this blogger’s attention that the government of Canada seems to have made some comments regarding same sex marriages performed in that nation. To quote directly from the website

“Thousands of non-resident same-sex couples married in Canada may not be legally wed if the marriage is not recognized in their home country or state, according to the Canadian government…”

The issues surrounding the status of same sex couples has been an issue of debate in the United States of America especially as the Presidential elections continue to draw closer. However, politics does not appear to be the core concern of those who are the most effected by these issues. For example, those families wishing to maintain a same sex bi-national relationship with a non-American in the United States could be deeply impacted by both American and Canadian policy regarding same sex marriage. This issue could further be hypothetically defined where the same sex marriage (or civil union depending upon the jurisdiction) takes place outside of the United States as such a fact pattern could place the merits of the marriage under the purview of the United States Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS). How this issue will ultimately be resolved in North America remains to be seen, there is one thing that seems to be a certainty: this issue is not one that will simply disappear since there are many in the LGBT (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender) Community who wish to see full equality in matters reflecting their marital status. American Courts have dealt with this issue in recent months although a definitive decision does not seem to have been reached hopefully this issue will be resolved in short order.

For related information please see: Full Faith and Credit Clause.

For general legal information pertaining to South East Asia please: Legal.

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8th June 2011

It recently came to this blogger’s attention that the United States Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS) has issued memorandum regarding the process of expediting the adjudication of I-601 waivers. To provide further insight it may be best to quote directly from the official website of USCIS,

This Policy Memorandum (PM) provides guidelines on how U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) processes requests to expedite the adjudication of Forms I-601 filed by individuals outside the United States. These guidelines will be included in the AFM Chapter 41.7 and in the revised version of International Operations Division Field Guidance for Form I-601 adjudications.
Unless specifically exempted herein, this memorandum applies to and is binding on all USCIS employees adjudicating Forms I-601 filed by individuals outside the United States.
8 CFR 212.7 governs USCIS adjudication of Form I-601.
It has been USCIS’s longstanding policy to accept requests to expedite processing of petitions or applications where the applicant or the petitioner demonstrates reasons that merit expedited processing of a petition or application. Consistent with this policy, an applicant may request that the adjudication of a Form I-601 be expedited. Requests to expedite in the Form I-601 adjudication context present unique challenges. Almost all Form I-601 applicants outside the United States have an interest in expeditious processing given that most are required to establish extreme hardship to a qualifying family member in order for USCIS to consider whether to exercise its discretion to waive the bar to an applicant’s entry into the United States. However, some applicants may be experiencing extraordinary circumstances that present the kind of compelling and urgent, time-sensitive reasons that merit expedited processing of a Form I-601. This memorandum provides guidelines on responding to requests to expedite Forms I-601 filed by applicants overseas. Policy Subject to case management requirements and resource constraints, USCIS managers overseas may, in extraordinary circumstances, exercise discretion on a case-by-case basis to approve a request to expedite adjudication of a Form I-601.1 The strong desire to immigrate to the United States as soon as possible is not by itself “extraordinary.” The types of extraordinary circumstances that may, generally, merit expedited processing are those in which there are time-sensitive and compelling situations that necessitate the applicant’s presence in the United States sooner than would be possible if the application were processed under normal processing times…

For those who are unfamiliar with matters pertaining to United States Immigration it should be noted that the I-601 waiver is often utilized as a remedy for those who have been found inadmissible to the United States or ineligible to receive a US visa (such as a K-1 visa [fiance visa], CR-1 visa, or IR-1 visa) during Consular Processing at a US Embassy or US Consulate abroad.

The I-601 waiver is sometimes confused with the I-212 waiver (also referred to as an application for advance permission to reenter the United States). However, the I-601 waiver and the I-212 waiver are two different application categories which are somewhat similar, but not exactly alike.

For related information please see: Legal.

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5th June 2011

This posting discusses the issues associated with retaining an American attorney to assist with the K-1 visa process. Those thinking about retaining assistance in the K-1 visa process are well advised to conduct thorough research prior to making any irrevocable decisions.

The K-1 visa is a non-immigrant US fiance visa which was intended to be used solely by the foreign fiances of American Citizens. The K-1 visa allows the foreign fiancee of an American Citizen to enter the United States for a period of 90 days of the purpose of marriage. Those who do not marry their American fiance after 90 days in the USA will be required to depart from the USA. Readers should bear in mind that the entrant to the United States on a K-1 visa who marries their loved one must undergo the adjustment of status process in order to gain lawful permanent residence in the U.S.A.

The purpose of this article is to provide insight to Americans about the perils of dealing with non-licensed individuals who purport to be qualified to practice United States Immigration law (or any American law, for that matter) . Pursuant to 8 CFR 292.1 only a qualified lawyer licensed to practice law in at least one U.S. State or Federal jurisdiction is entitled to engage in the receiving of client fees in connection with the practice of United States immigration law. Therefore, those not so qualified must either fit within a narrow exception to the aforementioned rule lest their behavior be deemed to be illegal. It should be noted that attorney-client confidentiality is a significant issue which should be considered when ascertaining the credentials of those claiming qualification in United States immigration matters abroad as there are many so-called “visa agents” or “immigration consultants” claiming qualification to provide services in connection with U.S. immigration. Attorney-client privilege is not extended to those not qualified as an American attorney and therefore discussions with unqualified individuals are likely not privileged communications. Meanwhile, some individuals brazenly, albeit falsely, portray themselves as American attorneys when, in fact, this is simply not the case.

For all of the reasons outlined above it should be noted that only a competent licensed attorney from the United States should be retained to assist prospective clients. Readers should understand that this message is not conveyed as an advertisement of this particular blogger’s services, as this is not this blogger’s intention in creating this posting. Instead, this post should be viewed as a reminder to readers that this decision should be made by prospective clients after serious contemplation and thorough research of all possible candidates for an attorney position. Attorney-Client relationships are not “one size fits-all” and neither is quality legal service. Therefore, the public should conduct research before coming to an informed decision about hiring an attorney.

For related information please see: K1 Visa Thailand or K1 Visa Cambodia.

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2nd June 2011

Frequent readers of this web log may have taken note of the fact that the administration routinely posts the holiday closing schedules of the various US Missions in Asia as a courtesy to the public-at-large. To quote directly from the official website of the United States Embassy in Kabul, Afghanistan:

DATE                                 DAY                           HOLIDAY

January 2*                 (US)  Sunday  New Year’s Day
January 16*               (US)  Sunday  Martin Luther King, Jr. Day
February 15              (AF)  Tuesday  Liberation Day
February 16**           (AF)  Wednesday  Prophet’s Birthday
February 20*              (US)  Sunday  President’s Day
March 21                   (AF)  Monday  Nawrooz (Afghan New Year – 1390)
April 28                      (AF)  Thursday   Victory Day
May 29*                    (US)  Sunday  Memorial Day
July 3*                      (US)  Sunday  Independence Day
August 1**                (AF)  Monday  First Day or Ramadan
August 18***             (AF)  Thursday  Independence Day
Aug 31 – Sept 2**      (AF)  Wednesday – Friday Eid ul-Fitr
September 4*             (US)  Sunday  Labor Day
September 8***          (AF)  Thursday  Martyrdom of National Hero Day
October 9*                 (US)  Sunday  Columbus Day
November 6-8**          (AF)  Sunday – Tuesday Eid-e Qurban
November 10*             (US)  Thursday  Veteran’s Day
November 24               (US)  Thursday  Thanksgiving Day
December 6**             (AF)  Tuesday  10th of Muharram (Ashura)
December 25               (US)  Sunday  Christmas Day


*    American holidays marked with an asterisk (*) are observed on a different day than in the US.

**  Afghan holidays marked with double asterisks (**) are based on the Islamic Calendar and depend on sightings of the moon.  As a holiday approaches, adjustments to this schedule may be made based on local practice and Afghan government announcements.

*** Afghan holidays marked with triple asterisks (***) are observed one day earlier.

Those wishing to visit the official homepage of the United States Embassy in Kabul are encouraged to click HERE.

It may sometimes prove necessary for an American Resident Abroad or an American traveling abroad to acquire documentation (US Passport, Consular Report of Birth Abroad, Notarized affidavit, etc.) which can only be obtained from an American Citizen Services section of a US Embassy or US Consulate overseas. Americans seeking such documentation are well advised to contact an American Citizen Services Section with appropriate Consular jurisdiction.

Those seeking an American non-immigrant visa (such as a B-1 visa, B-2 visa, J-1 visa, or F-1 visa) are likely to see their visa application processed at a non-immigrant visa section of a US Embassy, US Consulate, or American Institute abroad. Meanwhile, those seeking an immigrant visa such as a CR-1 visa or IR-1 visa (for purposes of Consular Processing, the K-1 visa; although a non-immigrant US fiance visa, is treated in much the same way as immigrant visa categories for processing purposes) are likely to see their visa application processed by an Immigrant Visa Unit abroad. Immigrant visas such as those noted above are likely to only be granted pursuant to an initial adjudication of an immigration petition at the United States Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS).

Those seeking visas such as the EB-5 visa or the L-1 visa are well advised to take note of the fact that it is unlikely that a visa application will be adjudicated by a US Post abroad until after an initial immigration petition is approved by USCIS.

For related information please see: Legal.

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25th May 2011

ผู้ที่ศึกษาเรื่องการเข้าเมืองของครอบครัวอเมริกันอาจสนใจในวีซ่า เค-วัน หรือ ซีอาร์-วันของคู่หมั้นใหม่  อ้างถึงความกังวลของพลเมืองอเมริกันที่มีการทำให้การเข้าเมืองสหรัฐอเมริกาของคู่หมั้นหรือคู่สมรสต่างชาติ ภายใต้สถานการณ์ที่เกิดขึ้นเช่นในประเทศไทย หรือในกัมพูชา โดยแท้จริงแล้วหมายถึงการทำวีซ่าแต่งงานสหรัฐอเมริกา(เรียกวีซ่านี้ว่า  ซีอาร์-วัน หรือ วีซ่า ไออาร์-วัน) หรือวีซ่าคู่หมั้นให้แก่คู่หมั้น หรือคู่สมรสชาวไทยหรือกัมพูชา คำถามต่อมาคือ วีซ่าประเภทใดที่ได้รับมากกว่า

ในปัจจุบันนี้ ใช้เวลาน้อยกว่าในการที่จะได้รับวีซ่าประเภทเค-วัน เปรียบเทียบกับวีซ่า ซีอาร์-วัน อ้างว่า ความเห็นของผู้เขียนในทางปฏิบัติแล้ว ระยะเวลาของการทำวีซ่าสองปะเภทนี้ใกล้เคียงกัน และโดยสรุปแล้วจะเป็นทางที่ดีกว่าถ้ามีการหาข้อมูลเกี่ยวกับการยื่นคำขอวีซ่าประเภท ซีอาร์-วัน หรือไออาร์-วันจากแหล่งข้อมูลมากกว่าที่จะดำเนินการในกระบวนการของวีซ่า เค-วันเพียงอย่างเดียว สิ่งที่พึงระลึกถึงนั้นคือ ผู้อ่านควรจะระลึกถึงว่า กระบวนการที่มีลักษณะเฉพาะสำหรับหลายๆคู่ภายใต้สถานการณ์ที่มีขั้นตอนเกี่ยวกับระยะเวลามากมาย

แม้ว่า วีซ่าเค-วันจะช่วยให้คู่หมั้นชาวต่างชาติได้เดินทางเข้ามาในสหรัฐอเมริกาได้เร็วกว่าการที่คู่สมรสขอวีซ่าประเภทซีอาร์-วันซึ่งถือวีซ่าประเภทผู้พำนักในสหรัฐอเมริกาประเภทถาวร ในทางกลับกันผู้ที่เดินทางเข้ามาในสหรัฐอเมริกาด้วยวีซ่าประเภทเค-วันจะต้องดำเนินกระบวนการเปลี่ยนแปลงสถานะเพื่อให้ได้กรีนการ์ด

หากไม่คำนึงถึงข้อเท็จจริงในเรื่อง ระยะเวลากระบวนการของUSCIS อาจมีการเปลี่ยนแปลงเกี่ยวกับเรื่องเวลาเล็กน้อยที่จะได้รับคำขอวีซ่าเค-วันเมื่อเปรียบเทียบกับหลายๆปีที่ผ่านมา กระบวนการของวีซ่าประเภทเค-วัน นั้นมีระยะเวลานานในหลายๆเดือนที่ผ่านมา ระยะเวลาการรอคอยที่นานมากขึ้นนั้นเกี่ยวกับข้อเท็จจริงศูนย์วีซ่าแห่งชาติ และสถานทูตสหรัฐอเมริกา หรือสถานกงสุลสหรัฐอเมริกาที่มีขั้นตอนและเขตอำนาจที่แตกต่างกัน  ตามกระบวนการคนเข้าเมืองสหรัฐอเมริกาที่ระยะเวลาดำเนินการในเรื่องเกี่ยวกับกงสุลมีแนวโน้มที่เพิ่มมากขึ้น หรือลดลงนั้นขึ้นอยู่กับปัจจัยต่างๆที่เกี่ยวกับศูนย์บริการของสหรัฐอเมริกาที่อยู่ในต่างประเทศ ขณะนี้ เป็นเรื่องยากที่จะคำนวณระยะเวลาที่แน่นอนสำหรับกระบวนการทางกงสุลในเอเชียเนื่องจากมีปัจจัยต่างๆมากมายที่ต้องคำนึงถึง ความเห็นของผู้เขียนนั้นควรที่จะมีการหาข้อมูลเกี่ยวกับวีซ่าครอบครัวก่อนที่จะตัดสสินใจในเรื่องการเข้าเมืองซึ่งเป็นเรื่องที่ไม่สามารถจะเพิกถอนได้เหมือนวีซ่าประเภทอื่น จะทำให้เอกสารการเดินทางนั้นไม่ก่อให้เกิดผล หากมีการใช้เอกสารดังกล่าวก็จะส่งผลต่อองค์ประกอบหลายๆอย่างของสถานะพลเมืองผู้ทีถิ่นฐานถาวรในสหรัฐอเมริกา

To view this posting English please see: Legal.

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21st April 2011

It recently came to this blogger’s attention that the official blog of the American White House posted an article regarding Immigration reform. For those who are not familiar with the current debate in the United States regarding immigration there are many factors which touch upon this controversial issue that continues to vex lawmakers and law enforcement officers in virtually all areas associated with visas and immigration. To quote directly from Melody Barnes on the official White House Blog:

As we work toward immigration reform, the Administration will continue to look for ways to improve our legal immigration system, secure the borders, and enhance our enforcement strategy so that it is smarter and more effective at removing criminals and prosecuting unscrupulous employers. But enforcement alone will not solve our immigration problem.  We need reform that affirms our history as both a nation of laws and a nation of immigrants – and to do that, we need to work together to pass legislation.

Immigration reform has always been a bipartisan issue, and the President believes it can and should be again.  Democrats, Republicans and Independents working together can enact meaningful, lasting reforms and make the right choices for our future.

It should be noted that Melody Barnes is an Assistant to the President and Director of the Domestic Policy Council. The administration of this blog strongly encourages readers to click upon the hyperlinks noted above to read this blog posting in detail in order to gain some perspective and context on this important issue.

This blogger sincerely hopes that any type of Comprehensive Immigration Reform, would take into consideration those same sex bi-national couples who are currently unable to receive immigration benefits of the same quality as their different sex counterparts pursuant to current policies stemming from the enactment of the so-called “Defense of Marriage Act” (DOMA). It was recently reported that Representative Jerrold Nadler has reintroduced legislation colloquially referred to as the Uniting American Families Act (UAFA). This legislation would allow the foreign same sex partner of a United States Citizen or Lawful Permanent Resident to receive immigration benefits as a “permanent partner”. As a result, the current restriction on same sex visas could be legally circumvented. Meanwhile, legislation such as the “Respect for Marriage Act” would grant Federal recognition to same sex marriages legalized and solemnized within the jurisdiction of those sovereign States which currently license such unions or in those foreign nations which legalize same sex marriage.

How the overall issue of Comprehensive Immigration Reform and equal rights for the LGBT community will ultimately play out has yet to be discerned, but hopefully through prudent leadership this issue can be dealt with to the benefit of all concerned.

For related information please see: Legal.


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