Got to say Hi to Chris Geidner at UNITY 12 in Las Vegas this week and thanked him for following this issue at MetroWeekly in the past and now at BuzzFeed. Thanks for all you do, Chris!
Lawmakers and advocates for same-sex couples facing immigration difficulties because the Defense of Marriage Act prevents recognition of their relationships say that “written guidance” is needed to ensure that the administration’s policy of considering those relationships in making deportation decisions is followed.
The comments from a Homeland Security spokesman to BuzzFeed on Thursday that a foreign citizen’s “same-sex marriage or other longstanding relationship to a United States citizen” would be considered by the department as being among the types of “family ties” that the agency uses to decide not to pursue deportation cases were met with support from advocates and lawmakers.
Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi of California, however, had sent a letter to Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano earlier this week asking for such a policy, if it exists, to be put into writing.
Responding to Thursday’s report, Pelosi spokesman Drew Hammill said today, “It’s a welcome development that a DHS spokesperson is explicitly and publicly acknowledging that DHS’s consideration of family ties includes same-sex couples and spouses. We look forward to the written guidance that we expect would be a logical next step.”
Lavi Soloway, founder of Stop the Deportations and a lawyer who has represented several binational same-sex couples in deportation cases and in green-card applications, agreed.
“Yesterday’s announcement acknowledging the marriages of gay and lesbian couples is a giant step forward honoring the struggle of thousands of loving couples who are subject to DOMA’s most punishing consequences,” Soloway said in a statement.
He added, though, “The Administration should issue clear guidance memorializing this announcement without delay so that all families can be protected under a clear, consistently applied prosecutorial discretion policy.”
Although BuzzFeed requested a copy of any policy implementing this decision, the only policy to which BuzzFeed has been directed by any DHS officials is a 2011 policy that makes no mention of same-sex couples.
Here’s my regular sign-off on blog posts:
Immigration Equality, Out4Immigration and Love Exiles Foundation are the three groups working on our issue – and the three groups who receive whatever money comes in from sales of my book, Torn Apart: United by Love, Divided by Law, Findhorn Press, 2011.
My newer project, with David W. Ross, whose new film “I Do: The Movie” will be out in June 2012, is a portrait project of LGBT binational families, United by Love, Divided by Law Portrait Project. It expands the reach of my book and will keep adding portraits as we find couples and funds to add more. We will hold events to assist the work being done for our families by Lavi Soloway and Stop the Deportations – The DOMA Project. Check out the site at
and see the Facebook page at
To follow Torn Apart: United by Love, Divided by Law, go to its Facebook page at:
Read an excerpt of my book at this link: http://bit.ly/eIyGxh
Order online from the publisher at this link:
Elizabeth Gilbert wrote the foreword to my book. She is an ally in our fight and has suffered from the immigration situation herself as part of a binational relationship. Though she and her boyfriend were able to marry, they know what the drill was and they advocate for LGBT binational families. We like that!
Remember, too, you can follow me and what I am doing and thinking and reading on twitter @tornapartbook