Disappointing but not unexpected – Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano says the Defense of Marriage Act ties her hands when it comes to helping married binational gay and lesbian couples, The Washington Blade reports.
Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano continues to say the Obama administration is unable to place on hold marriage-based green card applications for bi-national same-sex couples as long as the Defense of Marriage Act remains on the books… “The legal advice we have received is that we can’t put them in abeyance because DOMA remains the law,” Napolitano said. “We’d like to see that law overturned. In practical terms, however, most of those cases fall within very, very low priority in terms of what we’ve done over the last years, which is to build priorities into immigration enforcement, so we’re not seeing, in practicality, those deportations occur.”
Some dispute this reasoning:
Lavi Soloway, an immigration attorney and co-founder of the DOMA Project, denied the legal reasoning offered by Napolitano, saying DOMA prevents DHS from approving marriage-based green card applications, but says nothing about holding them in abeyance, nor would such a move “violate the spirit or letter of DOMA.” “It is regrettable that the administration continues to cite the questionable ‘legal advice’ that DOMA prohibits any remedies to would protect married binational gay and lesbian couples,” Soloway said. “Furthermore, this interpretation of DOMA is contradicted by their own action in the deportation context, where after two years of telling us that they could not issue a moratorium to stop ‘DOMA deportations’ for that very reason, the administration finally issued guidance in October 2012 to prevent deportations of the same-sex partners and spouses of American citizens who would be otherwise eligible for green cards if not for DOMA.”
We can only hope that the US Supreme Court strikes down this abominable law that has caused so much suffering for gay and lesbian couples.