By Melanie Nathan, Oct 10, 2012.
Here is the directive issued by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement – ICE regarding policy changes to grant latitude to determining
whether or not to prosecute/ deport undocumented foreigners who are in same-sex couple permanent relationships. This was issued by the
Obama administration to thwart the extreme hardship suffered by same-sex couples who are precluded from sponsoring foreign
spouses/partners for green cards.
Same-sex couples suffer severe immigration hardship as they lack immigration equality under the law. Whereas a straight American spouses
can sponsor a partner, a gay or lesbian partner, cannot, due to the implementation of the Defense of marriage Act (DOMA). In the past year,
the Obama Administration has refused to defend cases where DOMA has been challenged, asserting that it considers DOMA unconstitutional.
Immigration is covered by Federal law and so even if one can marry legally under the law of a specific State in the USA or in a foreign country
where same-sex marriage is legal, spouses are still separated, exiled, or live in fear of being caught as undocumented.
This policy does not those in exile or separated, but only provides discretion to ICE if they happen to ‘catch’ an undocumented spouse/ partner,
living in the USA, who may otherwise be subject to deportation.
This would help people like Shirley Tan who received the introduction of a Private Bill back in April 2009, thanks to the consideration and
compassion she experienced from Senator Dianne Feinstein, who happened at that time to take into account all the factors mentioned by ICE in this directive.
Legislation to provide same-sex couples with immigration equality has languished for many years in various forms in the U.S. Congress, and most recently as The Uniting American families Act,
with it primary champion in Congress, Rep. Jerrold Nadler, Democrat from New York.
HERE IS THE DIRECTIVE:-
Washington, D.C. 20536
U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement
OCT – 5 2012
All Field Office Directors All Chief Counsel
All Special Agents in Charge
Executive Associate Director
Applicability of Prosecutorial Discretion Memoranda to Certain Family Relationships
June 2011, Director Morton issued a memorandum entitled “Exercising Prosecutorial Discretion Consistent with Civil Immigration Enforcement Priorities
of the Agency for the Apprehension, Detention, and Removal o f Aliens” (the Prosecutorial Discretion Memorandum). This and other memoranda related to
prosecutorial discretion are designed to ensure that agency resources are focused on our enforcement priorities, including individuals who pose a threat to
public safety, are recent border crossers, or repeatedly violate our immigration laws. Pursuant to the Secretary’s instruction, this new guidance serves to
clarify how the existing memoranda related to prosecutorial discretion apply to family relationships involving long-term, same-sex partners.
When considering whether to exercise prosecutorial discretion in an individual case, ICE officers, agents, and attorneys should examine the totality of
the circumstances presented by that case. As the Prosecutorial Discretion Memorandum makes clear,one of the factors relevant to that assessment is
“the person’s ties and contributions to the community, including family relationships.” The factor of “family relationships” encompasses two adults
who are in a committed, long-term, same-sex relationship.
Same-sex relationships that rise to the level of “family relationships” are long-term, same-sex relationships in which the individuals -
ARTICLES BY GAY U.S.A.’s MELANIE NATHAN who helped Shirley Tan obtain a Private Bill from Senator Dianne Feinstein
By Melanie Nathan