Feds halt, continue deportation of same-sex married couples

Feds halt, continue deportation of same-sex married couples

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In what was hailed as a major breakthrough for LGBT immigration rights, the U. S. Bureau of Citizenship and Immigration Services said Monday that a hold would be in place for cases of legally married binational same-sex couples — but two days later that hold was lifted.

The questions stemmed from the Obama administration’s announcement in late February that it would no longer defend the Defense of Marriage Act in court because it is unconstitutional. The law, which prohibits the federal government from recognizing the legal marriages of same-sex couples, prevents Americans legally married to non-citizens of the same sex for from applying for a green card for their spouse, a right only afforded to heterosexual couples.

In a statement to the Advocate on Wednesday, CIS spokesperson Christopher Bentley said the agency had received the proper “legal guidance” from the Office of General Counsel at the Department of Homeland Security that enables it to proceed with the cases.

Bentley emphasized that no change in immigration policy has been implemented.

— Jen Colletta

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