Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Immigration Judge Grants Reprieve, Allows Monica & Cristina To Pursue Marriage-Based Immigration Case

Monica and Cristina expressed relief and optimism after leaving court
This morning, Monica Alcota and Cristina Ojeda, became the first married, same-sex, binational couple to successfully argue that deportation proceedings should be adjourned until their marriage-based immigration case had been fully adjudicated. The Immigrations and Customs Enforcement attorney and the Immigration Judge agreed that the couple should be given an opportunity to fight for a green card on the basis of their marriage and generously adjourned proceedings accordingly.  During their brief appearance in court, the discussion centered on an acknowledgement that the couple may have a long road a head of them, but that they should be allowed to pursue their case with U.S. Immigration and Customs Services, the administrative agency that processes marriage-based petitions.  Monica and Cristina will report back to the Judge in December to notify the court and the government attorney of the status of their case.  This is a tremendous victory for The DOMA Project and we hope it will signal a shift in how similar cases will be handled in Immigration Courts across the country.

Given the latest developments concerning the Defense of Marriage Act---the administration's new positition regarding the unconstitutionality of Section 3 of DOMA, their refusal to defend DOMA in federal court challenges, and the introduction of DOMA repeal legislation in both Senate and House last week---there was a palpable feeling in the courtroom that we had collectively crossed a threshhold to a new era in which a lesbian couple's marriage, while not legally recognized by the federal government, could at least be respected. And in according this couple the respect they deserve, the Immigration Court has moved us one small but significant step closer to equality.

Read more about Monica and Cristina's fight against DOMA and deportation here and here.
Excellent reporting from The Adocate and Gay City News.

11 comments:

  1. This is great news. Can you give us some context? Does this mean a binational couple can now get married, avoid deportation and just wait out the US political system until it repeals DOMA?

    ReplyDelete
  2. This is GREAT News. Congrats Monica & Cristina, and thanks to you two, DOMA Project, and all the other binational couples out there moving things forward!!!

    -Brian

    ReplyDelete
  3. That is so great! One more important step!

    ReplyDelete
  4. Monica and Cristina's story is encouraging and inspiring and is indicative of the changing legal landscape for married same-sex couples.The DOMA Project attorneys have shared these stories for informational purposes only. Nothing on this site should be understood to imply legal advice. It is crucial that all binational couples seek the advice of qualified attorneys specializing in LGBT immigration issues (particularly as they relate to DOMA) to understand these issues as they relate to an individual case. If you have any questions about your own situation or that of other binational couples please email us directly at stopthedeportations [at] gmail.com and we will arrange to speak with you. All communications with our attorneys are confidential.

    ReplyDelete
  5. Thank you. Before the DOMA project I felt there was no hope for my husband and I to stay together in the USA. I'm truly happy for these two ladies and their attorneys. Congrats! and Kudos!

    ReplyDelete
  6. Probably not a fair question but does anyone know which will more likely to happen first? DOMA repeal or UAFA? What is the difference between the two and how does either one affect binational couples who want to get a green card for their foreign partner?

    Thanks.

    ReplyDelete
  7. Wow, this is amazing! Thanks for all the wonderful work you do.

    ReplyDelete
  8. We'd be happy to discuss UAFA and DOMA with any binational couples who are interested in the subject. The founders of The DOMA Project also founded Immigration Equality and helped write the Permanent Partners Immigration Act which became UAFA. We are strong supporters of the need for comprehensive immigration reform that is inclusive. Please email us at stopthedeportations [at] gmail.com.

    ReplyDelete
  9. Thank you for all that you do for bi-national couples. Let's hope that Monica and Cristina are the first of the rest of us...Luckily my partner is in a highly-skilled field and has a work visa. However, we both would prefer that he obtain a green card through our relationship rather than through his employer sponsoring his green card application. We understand that not all couples are as lucky or as fortunate as we are and we should all have the same rights as opposite-sex couples. Keep up the fight! I truly feel that we have reached the tipping point and justice will be our's soon!!!!!!!!!!!!! Thank you again!

    ReplyDelete
  10. We are not only working with binational couples facing deportation; we are also preparing "green card" cases based on marriages for binational couples where the non-U.S. spouse has lawful status on H-1B visa or other work visas. Please contact us if you are interested at stopthedeportations [at] gmail.com

    ReplyDelete
  11. This is wonderful news, My husband and I are currently living in the UK, I'm a US citizen, he is not, we were legally married in Iowa. We were in the US until about 3 weeks ago, we had an employer that began the process of sponsorship for H1B for him, however, the quota was met before we were successful. We are desperately wanting to get back home to our friends and family as soon as possible. I hope and pray that these successes will help us in our fight as well.

    ReplyDelete