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Obama administration offers new hope for bi-national same-sex couples

The Department of Homeland Security has issued new guidelines for immigration personnel for determining whether a same-sex relationship would “rise to the level of a ‘family relationship.'”

Obtained exclusively Tuesday by the Washington Blade, the memorandum from U.S. Immigration & Customs Enforcement (ICE) was welcomed by LGBT advocates and lawmakers seeking greater protection for bi-national same-sex couples, who may be facing deportation under the current system.

The memorandum outlines three criteria for ICE personnel in determining a couple’s case.

From the memorandum:

Same-sex relationships that rise to the level of “family relationships” are long-term, same-sex relationships in which the individuals

• are each other’s sole domestic partner and intend to remain so indefinitely;

• are not in a marital or other domestic relationship with anyone else; and typically maintain a common residence

• and share financial obligations and assets.

The guidance is dated Oct. 5 and signed by three senior officials within ICE: Executive Associate Director Gary Mead, Executive Associate Director James Dinkins and Principal Legal Director Peter Vincent.

The Washington Blade reported Lavi Soloway, an immigration attorney and co-founder of Stop the Deportations, commended DHS for issuing the guidance, saying it marks the first time ever the Obama administration “has put in writing a policy to protect gay and lesbian couples who are threatened with deportation.”

“We are grateful that the Obama administration has finally issued written guidelines that we can take into court when we fight deportations,” Soloway said. “We continue to represent numerous same-sex couples in immigration courts around the country who are facing imminent deportation, and this document will help us finally resolve those cases so that no couple is torn apart.”


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Posted by on Oct 9, 2012. Filed under Breaking News, Top Highlights. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

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