Thursday, March 3, 2011

DOMA, Immigration, and ENDA: The Ripple Effects of Heightened Scrutiny

From Towleroad, DOMA: The Ripple Effects of Heightened Scrutiny, by Ari Ezra Waldman.
"But, the DOMA decision will have more direct impact. For example, Lavi Soloway, an attorney friend of mine, leading advocate of gays in immigration cases and founder of Stop the Deportations: The DOMA Project, has taken the DOJ's position and argued that since it is DOMA that is forcing legally married binational same-sex couples to be ripped apart -- DOMA prevents the federal recognition of their marriage, thus preventing a foreign national spouse from legally remaining in the United States -- the Administration's view that DOMA is unconstitutional should, at a minimum, become part of immigration officials' decision-making process when it comes to how to proceed with deporting the foreign national spouse of legally married same-sex couples.
Mr. Soloway's position raises an important distinction -- the difference between defending a law in court and enforcing the law in practice. He is essentially arguing that the DOJ's official statement that DOMA is unconstitutional should inform the opinions of the the Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA), a fifteen-judge panel that serves as the highest administrative body for interpreting immigration laws. Mr. Soloway is right. The Huffington Post implies that Mr. Soloway is asking that the Administration stop enforcing DOMA through "innovative strategies" to ensure families can stay together. That is not the case. Mr. Soloway is asking immigration officials to include the Administration's view of DOMA's constitutionality as part of the context in which the officials decide how to proceed with binational same-sex couples. Whether the immigration judge grants continuances (delays), deferred action (holding deportation in abeyance) or administrative termination (almost like ending the deportation proceeding) is up to the judge's discretion. So, Mr. Soloway wants to make sure that these judges take the Administration's view of DOMA into account."

No comments:

Post a Comment