The Obama administration on Tuesday dashed the hopes of gay Americans with spouses from abroad when it reiterated that it would continue to enforce the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), making such spouses ineligible for U.S. citizenship based on marriage.

Gay immigration groups on Monday cheered the news that Citizenship and Immigration Services, the federal agency that determines immigration status, had decided to put cases involving the foreign partners of gay U.S. citizens on hold until the constitutionality of DOMA, the Clinton-era law that bans federal recognition of the marriages of gay and lesbian couples, is determined.

Rachel B. Tiven, the executive director of Immigration Equality, called the news “a sign that relief is finally on the way.”

Tiven said in a statement that the agency's announcement that it was holding such cases in “abeyance while awaiting final guidance” meant that foreigners married to gay Americans could now apply for green cards and their cases would be suspended until DOMA's status was decided – possibly years – instead of being automatically denied.

But the celebration was quickly doused on Tuesday with a new statement, in which Citizenship and Immigration Services said it “had not implemented any change in policy and intends to follow the president's directive to continue enforcing the law.”

Saying that he believed parts of the marriage act are unconstitutional, President Obama announced in February that his administration would no longer defend the law in court, but added that the federal government would continue its enforcement.

A Citizenship and Immigration Services spokesman said that the agency would continue to deny the immigration status of married gay foreigners.