Currently, immigration policy is favorable toward the spouses of American citizens. Of course, this does not include the spouses of American gays or lesbians. The Defense of Marriage Act has complicated this issue further. If you are gay or lesbian, you need a New Jersey immigration lawyer on your side. Don’t risk deportation due to discrimination. It would be a tragedy if same-sex partners were forced to live apart just as society has finally started to recognize their right to live together.
The Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA)
Even if your marriage ceremony was performed in a state where gay marriage is legal, this does not extend your rights within the federal government. This is due to DOMA, a law despised by gays, lesbians and those who support their rights. Obviously, DOMA has made it impossible for the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS) to recognize the rights of an immigrant in a same-sex marriage. That’s the national impact of DOMA: legal discrimination against those immigrants who are in committed gay or lesbian marriages.
A Glimmer of Light
DOMA has been challenged by President Obama. In May 2012, he made public his approval of gay marriage. Just as importantly, he and his administration have refused to fight legal challenges to the Defense of Marriage Act. In addition, the Department of Homeland Security has relaxed its efforts to deport gays or lesbians in marriages, but these individuals still need legal representation to prove their legal standing. Despite his best efforts, the president still cannot unilaterally change marriage laws and immigration laws. This takes time and effort. His efforts are worthy, but this is not enough at this critical moment when you or your spouse is struggling to establish the right to stay in the U.S.
A High-Profile Example
Nathalie Gaulthier runs the renowned circus arts school in Los Angeles. She is a Canadian-born immigrant who has lived in the U.S. for 17 years. Her lesbian spouse, a U.S. Navy veteran, honorably served our country. According to Reason TV, which interviewed the couple, Ms. Gaulthier cannot obtain a green card to run her own business. She, like so many, has sought legal representation to fight for her rights. Those who live in New Jersey face the same almost-insurmountable hurdles. If you are experiencing immigration discrimination, contact a New Jersey immigration lawyer for consultation.
According to the group that advocates for legal equity for gay and lesbian immigrants, there are 36,000 individuals in a similar situation to Ms. Gaulthier’s predicament. That’s also 36,000 Americans who want to keep their loved ones in the country. Immigration Equality plans on fighting DOMA all the way to the Supreme Court. The length of this battle is long. In the meantime, the window of opportunity for some immigrants is closing. Don’t wait until you or your loved one is facing deportation. It may be too late. Contact a New Jersey immigration lawyer today.