MSNBC host Thomas Roberts on Thursday
featured a married gay couple facing deportation because of the
Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), the law that bans federal agencies
from recognizing the marriages of gay and lesbian couples.
Josh Vandiver and Henry Velandia, a
citizen of Venezuela, married last year in Connecticut, but because
of DOMA the federal government does not recognize their marriage and
will not allow Vandiver to sponsor his husband for citizenship, as a
U.S. citizen in a straight marriage would be allowed to do.
Velandia faces a May 6 deportation
“This law, the Defense of Marriage
Act, it exists, and I knew that it existed, and that the federal
government would not recognize my marriage, and that I wouldn't be
able to sponsor Henry, but I think that's wrong and unjust,”
Vandiver told Roberts. “And the issue for us is that May 6 Henry
could be ripped away from me. But that doesn't have to happen.
Secretary Napolitano of Homeland Security could stop the deportations
of spouses like Henry, my husband, and all the thousands of same-sex
couples like us.” (The video is embedded in the right panel of
Last month, gay rights groups announced
that Citizenship and Immigration Services, the federal agency that
determines immigration status, was putting such cases on hold. But
less than 24-hours had passed before the agency dashed those hopes,
saying it would continue to enforce DOMA.