For Immediate Release
December 10, 2012
Contact: Steve Ralls
(202) 347-7007 / firstname.lastname@example.org
Following Supreme Court Decision to Review Defense of Marriage Act,
54 Groups Urge Obama Administration to Hold LGBT Green Card Applications
Coalition Urges White House to Ensure “LGBT Families Can Remain Securely Together”
Washington, DC – A coalition of 54 organizations representing lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) and immigrant communities urged the White House today to hold green card applications filed by LGBT couples pending a U.S. Supreme Court decision on the constitutionality of the federal Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA). The court announced its intent to review the law on December 7th and a final decision is expected in June 2013. Although the Obama Administration has said that DOMA is unconstitutional, it cites DOMA as the reason it continues to deny green card applications filed by lesbian and gay Americans on behalf of their foreign-born spouse. Today’s letter urges the Administration to hold – rather than deny – those applications until the court rules next year.
“We write today to urge the Administration to hold in abeyance application for lawful permanent residence which would be approvable but for DOMA,” the organizations, led by Immigration Equality, write in their letter. They go on to note that, “We understand the Administration’s commitment to continue enforcing DOMA, but this commitment does not require that such applications be denied; instead, we urge the Administration to take a middle path and hold marriage-based applications until the Supreme Court makes a final determination about the constitutionality of DOMA.”
The letter notes there is legal precedent for such a policy of abeyance. “In the past,” the letter states, “USCIS has held in abeyance applications for lawful permanent residence filed by surviving spouses of U.S. citizens while litigation was being pursued on their behalf.”
“The Supreme Court’s decision to review DOMA means we now have a date-certain for a final determination about the law,” said Rachel B. Tiven, executive director of Immigration Equality. “It makes no sense to continue denying green card applications which, if the law is struck down by the court, would be approved. By holding these applications, the Administration can ensure couples will not be separated or forced into exile.”
Under current U.S. law, LGBT Americans have no ability to sponsor their spouses or partners for residency in the United States. A court decision striking down DOMA would end that discrimination and allow lesbian and gay couples to petition for green cards using the same process available to straight Americans and their spouses.
A full copy of the letter, with all 54 endorsing organizations, is available online at www.immigrationequality.org.
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Immigration Equality is a national organization fighting for equality under U.S. immigration law for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and HIV-positive individuals.