The Obama administration on Thursday
announced immigration policy changes that could help gay bi-national
couples facing the threat of deportation under the Defense of
Marriage Act (DOMA).
Under the new policy, the
administration will prioritize deportation cases based on security
High-priority cases involve people who
have been convicted of crimes.
Factors to be considered include
whether the immigrant is married to a U.S. Citizen, the length of
lawful stay in the United States, and his or her contributions to the
“The prosecutorial discretion memo
provides for the use of discretion for people with strong community
ties, with community contributions and with family relationships,”
an unnamed senior administration official told gay weekly the
“We consider LGBT families to be
families in this context,” the official added.
The marriages of gay and lesbian
couples are not recognized by immigration officials because DOMA bars
While the policy changes are not
tailored to address the inequity bi-national gay couples face, by
recognizing gay couples as families they offer real hope.
Steve Ralls, a spokesman for
Immigration Equality, said the guidance sounded like “good news.”
“While Immigration Equality has not
yet seen the written guidelines that will accompany the changes the
agency has announced, our understanding is that the guidance is meant
to be LGBT-inclusive,” Ralls told the paper.