Immigration

Democrats Seek Deportation Relief for Gay Couples

The partners and spouses of gays and lesbians should be recognized under the Obama administration’s new immigration policy when deportation decisions are made, say House Democrat leaders.
 
“The recognition of LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgendered) family ties as a positive factor is a critical step forward in identifying key family and community ties to implement common-sense immigration enforcement,” say 67 Democrats led by House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi of California and Jerrold Nadler of New York.
 
This backdoor approach to coerce the federal government into recognizing gay marriage was originally alluded to by the Homeland Security Department on Aug. 18 when it announced that government officials would be given discretion on what deportation cases they could pursue.
 
“We applaud the Aug. 18, 2011, announcement that the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) plans to close many low-priority immigration deportation proceedings,” the lawmakers said in a letter Tuesday to Homeland Security chief Janet Napolitano.
 
“We especially commend DHS for stating that it will consider the family ties of lesbians, gay, bisexual and transgender people as a factor in determining cases that merit relief from deportation, including for gay and lesbian foreign nationals who are the spouses and partners of U.S. citizens and permanent residents,” the letter said.
 
However, when DHS released the guidelines, there was no mention of additional considerations offered for the LGBT community.
 
So the lawmakers want Homeland Security and the Justice Department to direct their employees to rewrite the guidelines and make the additional allowances.
 
“Without specific guidance, it is unlikely that agency officers, agents and attorneys asking decisions about individual cases will be aware that LGBT family ties are a factor for consideration for exercising discretion in closing or not initiating removal proceedings,” the lawmakers said.
 
Bob Dane, spokesman for the Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR), said his organization doesn’t take positions on the gay agenda, but that its effect on the immigration system would be overwhelming.
 
“We feel the immigration system is already creative and chaotic enough,” Dane said, and the lawmakers’ request could “overwhelm the system.”
 
“This allows domestic partners another category that could be abused.  Partnership is an easy claim, but almost impossible for the government to prove.  How can you verify that someone is in an intimate relationship with the goal of a life-long commitment?” Dane said.
 
“At the end of the day,” said Dane, “it’s an additional burden on an immigration system that is already maxed out,” Dane said.

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