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Greg Siskind on Immigration Law and Policy

USCIS BACKTRACKING ON SAME SEX MARRIAGE POLICY CHANGE

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Get it together, USCIS. People's futures hang in the balance here.


From this morning's New York Times:



The most recent crossed signals started at meetings last week between immigration lawyers and officials from Citizenship and Immigration Services. The officials said that some cases involving gay married couples had been suspended while the agency sought guidance from its lawyers about issues related to the marriage act.


On Monday, Christopher S. Bentley, the chief spokesman for the immigration agency, confirmed in a statement that cases nationwide involving married gay couples had been suspended. What Mr. Bentley did not say was how long that hold might last and what issues the agency was seeking to clarify.


*****


But on Tuesday, Mr. Bentley issued a new statement, saying that Citizenship and Immigration Services "has not implemented any change in policy and intends to follow the president's directive to continue enforcing the law."


Mr. Bentley said the agency's field offices had suspended cases for a short period, perhaps a week or two, while lawyers clarified a "narrow legal issue" concerning the marriage act. He said the agency would probably resume action on same-sex marriage cases in coming days and would continue to deny immigration status to foreigners based on those marriages.



[UPDATE]: Rumblings abound on the Internets. Dan Savage calls USCIS' decision a "crushing letdown." The Facebook Page of the couple profiled in the New York Times -  "Save Our Marriage - Stop the Deportation of Henry Verlandia" - now has more than 10,000 supporters. Andrew Sullivan calls the flip-flop "outrageous."


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Comments

  1. Fabrizio's Avatar
    really disappointing!
  2. F's Avatar
    I think Mr. Obama wants Reps take this bait.
  3. George Chell's Avatar
    Meanwhile Jan Brewer says, "let us protect the Hispanic fetus before it is born, but arrest it and deport it after it is born or at least drive the baby underground after it is born!

    http://news.yahoo.com/s/nm/us_arizona_abortion
  4. Another Voice's Avatar
    Brewer wants to protect them and then deny citizenship and deport.
  5. George Chell's Avatar
    "Brewer wants to protect them and then deny citizenship and deport."

    Anchor fetus has life according to Brewer, but has no color, cannot date your white child or marry..but once it is an anchor baby it has a darker hue, can vote, can date your white child, spoil your future lineage, etc. Hence, from a racist point of view, which is what Brewer and Pearce are, it makes perfect sense! It is also a synical attempt to cover their true religion: white skin worshipping paganism!

  6. Another Voice's Avatar
    GA Senate is about to pass it's own version of "Your papers please law". They are touting Pearce's blessing on the matter, like he was going to say something bad about it!!!!
  7. Another Voice's Avatar
    WASHINGTON (AP) -- After a brief reprieve, immigration authorities are once again denying applications for immigration benefits for same sex couples following a legal review.

    Chris Brantley, a spokesman for the U.S. Citizenship and Services agency, said Wednesday that a review by lawyers from the Department of Homeland Security, it was concluded that a law prohibiting the government from recognizing same sex marriages must be followed, despite the Obama administration's decision to stop defending the constitutionality of the law in court.

    The law, the Defense of Marriage Act, defines marriage as being between a man and a woman.

    Earlier this week, USCIS announced that applications from foreigners married to a U.S. citizen of the same sex would be held in "abeyance" while the legal review proceeded. Brantley said Tuesday that the temporary hold on application decisions was not a change in policy.

    In February, Attorney General Eric Holder announcement that the government would no longer defend the law, which gay rights activists have said is discriminatory.

    Bob Deasy, of the American Immigration Lawyers Association, said the latest ruling is a "disappointment."

    "The administration has the authority to put these cases on hold" while the fate of the marriage law is decided in court, he said.

    Holder's announcement appears to have already had an impact on at least one immigration case.

    Earlier this month a New York-based immigration judge decided to postpone a deportation order against an Argentine lesbian married to a U.S. citizen.

    Following the ruling to adjourn the case until December, Monica Alcota's lawyer, Noemi Masliah, praised the judge's decision.

    "The right thing to do, and this judge did do the right thing, is to adjourn this case and see what happens down the road," Masliah said. "Given that the law is so up in the air ... it's hard to enforce at this point in a negative way."

    Wednesday's announcement did not have any immediate impact on Alcota's case.
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