Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Breaking News: Congressman Nadler Calls for Halt to DOMA Deportations

"An Evolving Immigration Landscape," The Advocate, March 2, 2011. Full article here.
Soloway has argued that executive branch agencies, including the Executive Office of Immigration Review and Immigration and Customs Enforcement, should “develop innovative strategies” to keep binational gay couples together pending Congressional resolution.

The administration has not yet formulated a policy on deportation cases involving married binational gay couples following the DOMA announcement last week. But Soloway pointed out that DHS in recent years has amply used its powers of discretion in other removal situations. In 2009 it issued a moratorium against deporting widows or widowers of U.S. citizens who had been married for less than two years while Congress worked on a legislative fix supported by the administration. Last year the department offered "deferred action" to allow students eligible for legal status under the DREAM Act to remain in the country and avoid deportation (Congress failed to pass the bill in December).

“What we’re talking about here is a small group who faces deportation—the ultimate punishment in an immigration context—and we’re talking about priorities,” Soloway said. “And every day the executive branch makes decisions on how to expend its resources.”

Rep. Jerrold Nadler of New York, who said last week that he would reintroduce a bill to repeal DOMA, said that while the administration has made clear that it would continue to enforce the law, “If it’s the case of a legally married couple under the laws of a state or the District of Columbia, the administration ought to argue in court not to deport them.”

Nadler is also sponsor of the Uniting American Families Act, legislation that would give gays and lesbians the right to sponsor a non-citizen partner or spouse for legal residency. “I’ve always said that UAFA is not a gay marriage bill,” Nadler said, “but I’ve also always said that if DOMA were ever repealed, and that if gay marriage were recognized, the bill would be [unnecessary]. … If DOMA is unconstitutional, then immigration law should apply equally to anyone legally married under state law.”

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