Connect with us

National

Immigration change could help gay foreign nationals facing deportation

Administration to examine deportations on case-by-case basis

Published

on

Gay News, Washington Blade, Gay Peru, Immigration

The Obama administration unveiled on Thursday new immigration policy that could enable many undocumented immigrants facing deportation to stay within the United States — a move that could enable bi-national same-sex couples at the risk of separation to stay together within the country.

Under the new guidance, immigration authorities within the Obama administration will conduct a case-by-case review of the approximately 300,000 undocumented immigrants facing possible deportation to determine which cases are high priority and low priority. Those who have been convicted of crimes or pose a security risk will be a higher priority for deportation, while those who are deemed lower priority will be taken out of the pipeline.

Administration officials will weigh a person’s ties and contributions to the community and family relationships. During an on background conference call with media outlets on Thursday, a senior administration official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said these criteria are inclusive of LGBT families and same-sex couples.

NEW IN THE BLADE: NEW DHS GUIDANCE ON IMMIGRATION OMITS SAME-SEX COUPLES

“The prosecutorial discretion memo provides for the use of discretion for people with strong community ties, with community contributions and with family relationships,” the official said. “We consider LGBT families to be families in this context.”

Under current immigration code, straight Americans can sponsor their spouses for residency in the United States through the green card application process if their spouses are foreign nationals. The same rights aren’t available to gay Americans because same-sex marriage isn’t legal in many places in the country and because the Defense of Marriage Act prohibits federal recognition of these unions.

Consequently, foreign nationals who are in committed relationships with gay Americans may have to leave the United States or face deportation — which could mean separation from their partner — if these foreign nationals are discovered to be undocumented or upon expiration of their temporary visas. The new policy guidance offers another opportunity for the Obama administration to cancel the deportation of these foreign nationals, enabling them to remain in the country with their partners.

Steve Ralls, a spokesperson for Immigration Equality, said the new change seems like “good news” for bi-national same-sex couples who are facing imminent separation via a deportation or removal order.

“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 said.

MORE IN THE BLADE: BLUMENTHAL SEEKS TO AID LESBIAN BI-NATIONAL COUPLE

But Ralls said further action is needed because the new guidance doesn’t affect bi-national couples who need relief, but haven’t received a deportation order or removal notice. LGBT immigration organizations have been calling on the Obama administration is issue a blanket moratorium on DOMA-related deportations to ensure that married bi-national couples can stay together in the United States.

“Those couples are still waiting for an answer as to how the administration will ensure they remain in the country and are given the same treatment and solutions, under the law, available to straight couples, too,” Ralls said.

The new policy is in response to a letter that Assistant Senate Majority Leader Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) as part of a group of 20 Democratic senators wrote in April asking President Obama to set up a process to stop the deportation of people who would qualify for citizenship under the DREAM Act. The DREAM Act, or Development, Relief and Education for Alien Minors Act, would allow young, undocumented immigrants a path to citizenship if they pursue a college education or military service.

Additionally, the new change builds off an existing June 17 memo enabling immigration officials to exercise discretion in deportation cases that aren’t deemed high priority. Groups had been seeking to expand the memo to include explicit mention of bi-national same-sex couples.

MORE IN THE BLADE: WHY WAS A GAY SAUDI DIPLOMAT DENIED ASYLUM?

Lavi Soloway, founder of Stop the Deportations, said the policy unveiled on Thursday takes further this previous guidance directed to U.S. Immigration & Customs Enforcement agents and moves the administration “one step closer” to enacting a uniform policy to end deportations of gay foreign nationals living in the United States.

“It puts the full power of the administration behind the enforcement of prosecutorial discretion rather than simply allowing each ICE attorney or deportation officer to decide whether and how that discretion should be exercised,” Soloway said. “By undertaking a review of all pending deportation cases at the highest level and clarifying that existing prosecutorial discretion guidelines include LGBT families, Secretary [of Homeland Security Janet] Napolitano will now have the opportunity to stop every deportation involving a lesbian or gay binational couple.”

Continue Reading
Advertisement
8 Comments

8 Comments

  1. Tomas Ortiz

    August 18, 2011 at 6:29 pm

    Atlanta GA HB87 with the new law my partner ask me quit my job, he’s afraid and don’t want I’m be on risk to be deported, he is cover all the spences in are relationship imediatly, I have condo still pay, but I have house pay off, AIDS tratment and 11 years in the USA, if some body know something with this profile can fix my status, thanks. my first lenguage spanish.

    • Doug Gentry

      August 21, 2011 at 8:13 pm

      Tomas. You should contact ImmigrationEquality.org or Lavi Soloway at StopTheDeportations.com.

      • Tomas Ortiz

        August 26, 2011 at 1:41 pm

        thank so much, for take time tu answer my question, god bless you.

  2. Rachelle

    August 18, 2011 at 7:32 pm

    Ha, it’s bull sh&t, we keep hearing this. REFORM immigration for good UAFA damn it and quick…no excuses no more promises and not delivering! It’s insane we want equality now!

  3. DaveUSEricUK

    August 19, 2011 at 6:46 am

    Once again, we are hearing things from the Obama Adminstration that SEEM like good news. But when you scatch the surface it’s all just cosmetic. All the Obama adminstration has to do is issue an executive order halting all deportation proceedings involving same sex bi-national couples. The GOP will go beserk and sue, citing DOMA, GOOD! Get this issue before the Supreme Court where it BELONGS. To wait for Congress to repeal DOMA will take YEARS. This latest shade of lipstick on the pig of DOMA bigotry does NOTHING to hald deportations, it just MIGHT delay it if you are lucky. And of course it does NOTHING for bi-national couples like us, who live overseas in DOMA-Exile.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

National

More Americans personally know someone who’s transgender, non-binary: survey

42% know a trans person, 26% know someone using gender-neutral pronouns

Published

on

More Americans personally know a transgender person or someone who goes by gender-neutral pronouns, according to new data from the non-partisan Pew Research Center.

A survey found 42 percent of Americans know someone who’s transgender, who is up from 37 percent who said so in 2017. Although most Americans, 57 percent, still say they don’t know anyone who’s transgender, that’s down from 63 percent five years ago.

Similarly, 26 percent of Americans say they know someone who uses non-binary gender pronouns compared to the 18 percent in 2018 who said they knew someone uses pronouns such as “they” as opposed to “he” or “she.”

At the same time, comfort levels with using gender-neutral pronouns – as well as their opinions on whether someone’s gender can differ from the sex they were assigned at birth – has remained about the same. Half of Americans say they would be either very or somewhat comfortable using a gender-neutral pronoun to refer to someone if asked to do so, compared to 48 percent who say they would not be comfortable. The numbers, according to Pew Research, are basically unchanged since 2018.

The survey found profound differences by age, party, and education in knowing a transgender person or someone who goes by gender-neutral pronouns, although in both parties growing shares of Americans report knowing a person who’s transgender.

For Americans under age 30, some 53 percent say they know a transgender person, which is up from 44 percent in 2017. In the same age group, 46 percent of younger U.S. adults know someone who goes by gender-neutral pronouns, compared to 32 percent in 2018.

The Pew Research Center conducted the survey of 10,606 U.S. adults between June 14 and June 17. The survey is weighted to reflect the U.S. adult population in terms of gender, race, ethnicity, partisan affiliation, education, and other categories, according to Pew Research.

Continue Reading

National

Louisiana lawmakers fail to overturn Edwards veto of Trans sports bill

Edwards further said that the bill was “mean” because it targets “the most emotionally fragile children in the state of Louisiana.”

Published

on

Louisiana Democratic Governor John Bel Edwards (Photo Credit: Official state portrait)

BATON ROUGE – Louisiana lawmakers failed to override Gov. John Bel Edwards’ (D) veto last month of a bill that would have barred trans girls and women from participating on athletic teams or in sporting events designated for girls or women at elementary, secondary and postsecondary schools.

The measure, Senate Bill 156 authored by Sen. Beth Mizell titled the ‘the Fairness in Women’s Sports Act,’ in the Governor’s eyes, “was a solution in search of a problem that simply does not exist in Louisiana,” Edwards said in his veto statement;

“As I have said repeatedly when asked about this bill, discrimination is not a Louisiana value, and this bill was a solution in search of a problem that simply does not exist in Louisiana. Even the author of the bill acknowledged throughout the legislative session that there wasn’t a single case where this was an issue. 

The Republican majority state House chamber failed to override the Governor’s veto after voting 68-30 to override it, according to the state legislature’s website.

The vote narrowly missed the 70-vote threshold needed in the lower chamber to override the veto.

Two-thirds of both the House and Senate must vote to override a governor’s veto, according to the local Baton Rouge newspaper The Advocate.

The Governor reacted to the news that his veto withstood Republican efforts to overturn it in a press conference Wednesday.

Edwards noted that in his view he had “rejected a play” that had no place in Louisiana. 

“I would rather the headlines going out from today be that Louisiana did what was right and best. We rejected a play out of a national playbook that just had no place in Louisiana. That bill wasn’t crafted for our state, I mean go read it and look at the arguments that were made. None of that applies here,” Edwards said.

He further said that the bill was “mean” because it targets “the most emotionally fragile children in the state of Louisiana.” 

“We have to be better than that,” Edwards said. “We have to be better than that.” 

 

Continue Reading

National

Federal court blocks West Virginia Law banning Trans youth sports

“It hurt that the State of West Virginia would try to block me from pursuing my dreams. I just want to play.”

Published

on

Becky Pepper-Jackson (Photo credit: ACLU/Raymond Thompson)


CHARLESTON, W.Va. — A judge of the United States District Court, Southern District of West Virginia ruled Wednesday that 11-year-old Becky Pepper-Jackson must be allowed to try out for the girls’ cross-country and track teams at her school, blocking West Virginia from enforcing a law that bans transgender girls and women from participating in school sports. 

The ruling came in the lawsuit challenging the ban filed by Lambda Legal, the American Civil Liberties Union, the ACLU of West Virginia, and Cooley LLP.

“I am excited to know that I will be able to try out for the girls’ cross-country team and follow in the running shoes of my family,” said Becky Pepper-Jackson, the plaintiff in the lawsuit. “It hurt that the State of West Virginia would try to block me from pursuing my dreams. I just want to play.”

West Virginia Gov. Jim Justice signed H.B. 3293 into law at the end of April. It was one of hundreds of anti-LGBTQ bills pushed in state legislatures across the country in 2021. During legislative debate, it was not endorsed by any mainstream sporting or health organizations. A similar law in Idaho was blocked by a federal court in 2020, and a federal court in Connecticut recently dismissed a challenge to policies that allow all girls, including girls who are transgender, to participate on girls’ sports teams. Legal challenges are underway against similar laws passed in other states.

The Supreme Court recently refused to disturb Gavin Grimm’s victory at the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit, where he prevailed in challenging his school’s anti-transgender discrimination against him. This decision — which is binding precedent in West Virginia federal court — said that federal law protects transgender students from discrimination in schools.

“This is great news for Becky, and while our work is not done yet, today’s ruling jibes with similar rulings in other courts across the country,” said Avatara Smith-Carrington, Tyron Garner Memorial Law Fellow, Lambda Legal. “It is our hope that courts recognize and address discrimination when they see it, and nowhere is it more visible than in these stark attacks against trans youth.”

“Becky — like all students — should have the opportunity to try out for a sports team and play with her peers,” said Josh Block, senior staff attorney with the ACLU LGBTQ & HIV Project. “We hope this also sends a message to other states to stop demonizing trans kids to score political points and to let these kids live their lives in peace.” 

“We’ve said all along this cruel legislation would not survive a legal challenge, and we’re encouraged by the court’s decision today,” said ACLU-WV Legal Director Loree Stark. “We hope trans kids throughout West Virginia who felt attacked and wronged by the passage of this legislation are feeling empowered by today’s news.”

“We are extremely gratified — for Becky, and for all trans youth — at the court’s recognition that the law and the facts clearly support treating people who are transgender fairly and equally. Discrimination has no place in schools or anywhere else,” said Kathleen Hartnett of Cooley LLP.

Continue Reading
Advertisement
Advertisement

Follow Us @washblade

Sign Up for Blade eBlasts

Popular