It's Official: Gay Couples Same as Straight Couples When Weighing Immigration Deportation


On Friday, an August letter endorsed by 80 House Democrats, backed by Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (CA), that urged the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to classify gay couples — Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) be damned — as immediate family and consider when making decisions about immigration finally got its answer. As Reason 24/7 reported earlier today Big Sister DHS Director Janet Napolitano said yes, and an official order will go out that having a gay spouse is the same as having a heterosexual one in terms of weighing whether or not someone should be deported.

One of the qualities that undocumented workers looking to stay should have, in order to be "low priority" for resources being put toward deportation, under Immigration and Customs Enforcement's June, 2011 directive, is indeed family or community ties, so this may do some good and help keep couples together. Other factors to consider under the prosecutorial discretion memo are immigrants' age of entry into the United States (under 16) and obviously not having ever committed a violent or serious crime.

DHS had previously verbally promised to treat gay couples the same, but the Democrats, particularly Pelosi, were looking for something more substantial than that. 

After Napolitano's announcement that the instructions will be formally written out, Richael B. Tiven, director of the activist group Immigration Equality said:

"This is a huge step forward,Until now, LGBT families and their lawyers had nothing to rely on but an oral promise that prosecutorial discretion would include all families. Today, DHS has responded to Congress and made that promise real."

In the meantime, a new Supreme Court session just begun, the justices will mostly likely eventually hear the challenges to DOMA raised by several different parties, including activist group Immigration Equality. Immigration Equality's suit was filed in April in New York Discrict Court on the behalf of five gay, international couples who were unable to sponsor their spouses for green cards. Blesch v. Holder, as in Attorney General Eric, who is named along with Napolitano and other government officials, argues that Section 3 of DOMA is a violation of the 14th Amendment's equal protection. The Obama administration promised to stop defending DOMA back in 2011, but the law has continued to plague some couples.

And for immigrant activists worried about a sudden Romney upset, at the very least it seems he promised in a Monday Denver Post interview not to mess with Obama June executive order which gives a two-year stop-gap for deportations of young folks who didn't choose to illegally immigrate. Romney says his administration's immigration policy would be official long before those two years were up anyway.

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  1. More special consideration from the government for marrieds. SINGLE PEOPLE CAN GO FUCK THEMSELVES.

    1. Yes, but once we get special consideration for MORE people, then we can get rid of it.

  2. DHS had previously verbally promised to treat gay couples the same, but the Democrats, particularly Pelosi, were looking for something more substantial than that.

    So even Pelosi knows this administrations promises ain’t worth spit. Yet she thinks a written promise is worth more than a mere oral promise. She’s a slow learner isn’t she?

  3. Does “couples” mean people that are officially married, or does it cover less legally sanctioned unions? If so, is that the same rule applied to heterosexual couples?

  4. This can’t really be an issue. When the Hit y Runpublicans aren’t shilling for Romney, they’re assuring people that teh gheys only push for marriage so they can sue people.

    1. they’re assuring people that teh gheys only push for marriage so they can sue people.

      And now that there is another instance of them attempting to be able to sue people means that you agree?

  5. I’m sorry but claiming that gay couples are treated the same as straight couples when weighing immigration deportation is complete bullshit. Married straight couples have options to avoid being anything close to deportation, gay couples don’t have them. This is of value to a few couples (btw, only 29 individuals have availed themselves so far of the opportunity not to be deported because they arrived illegally in the US as children), but this is nothing to boast about for a left-of-center government. When left-wing governments come to power in European countries, they legalize gay marriage, as the Spanish Socialists did and the French ones will soon do. This policy change is on par with letting HIV-positive people to visit the US, even severe conservatives like George W. Bush supported the latter on the compassion grounds.

    1. severe conservatives like George W. Bush


      Oh man thanks I needed a good laugh.

      1. Meh, the term’s become so meaningless in recent years especially, although I’ve always hated the term, just because it’s entirely dependent on time and place. There’s no universal defining features of conservatism. You are correct in that Bush’s actions didn’t match up with stated conservative ideology, but the vast majority of self-described conservatives did (and still do) support him

        1. Is that because of ideology or partisanship? If it’s the latter case, it seems like it would be more accurate to identify them as “Republicans” (though obviously there’s a lot of overlap).

          1. Partisanship, but I purposely used the term “self-described”

      2. With respect to gays President Bush had a reputation of a severe social conservative. And here we’re obviously talking about social conservatism, not any other kind. But I admit, of course I used the term “severe conservative” for entertainment purposes.

  6. I’m all for gay Americans being able to sponsor their spouses, but maybe if the current administration actually gave two craps about gay people the plight of married same-sex international couples, they should have tried to repeal the Defense of Marriage Act when they had control of both houses of congress in Obama’s first 2 years in office- you know by actually going through the legislative process, not just saying, “MAKE IT SO!” That would have solved this problem easily. Unfortunately though, then Democrats wouldn’t have a carrot to keep dangling in front of left-leaning LGBT voters so that those voters will keep giving them their money.

  7. I’m confused.

    Is this thread about people who can’t call their civil unions “marriage”, or is it about the kidnapping, detention, and forced transport of people thousands of miles from their homes because they don’t have a piece of paper that says they can live or work in the US?

    I know the former is the civil rights issue of our time, but the latter is a little important too.

  8. Today, DHS has responded to Congress and made that promise real.”

    So apparently any group of congressmen – even a small group of minority party members – can now speak for the entire body.

  9. Sounds like a very good plan dude.

    1. Because the next step is for DHS to recognize bot-marriage?

  10. And, of course, regardless of the merits, this is another example of the Obama administration violating the law via executive action.

  11. The question is how are they going to handle same sex marriages of people who aren’t gay?

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