Thursday, March 10, 2011

Media Coverage of The DOMA Project This Week

Washington, DC's Metro Weekly and the national newsmagazine The Advocate each covered the story of Edwin Echogoyen & Rodrigo Martinez as part of their overall coverage of the implications of the President's new position of the Defense of Marriage Act.

From Metro Weekly:

"On Feb. 25, attorney Lavi Soloway announced that he was filing multiple requests on behalf of married, same-sex bi-national couples where one spouse is facing deportation. A day earlier, on Feb. 24, Soloway began the process in a case before the Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA) in which Joshua Vandiver is seeking to sponsor his husband, Henry A. Velandia Ferreira, for immigration purposes. Velandia had come to the U.S. from Venezuela on a work visa, which has since expired.

Ordinarily, an American spouse would be able to sponsor his spouse for immigration purposes, but DOMA prevents Vandiver from sponsoring Velandia – despite the fact that they were legally married in Connecticut.

As soon as Wednesday, March 9, another couple – Edwin Echegoyen and Rodrigo Martinez – face separation, as Martinez is due to surrender in Baltimore for deportation to El Salvador on that day.
On March 7, Soloway filed a Motion for Emergency Stay of Removal, which would prevent Martinez's deportation, and a Motion to Reopen Proceedings and evidence of the marriage, which could lead to the consideration of whether DOMA should continue to prevent Echegoyen from being able to sponsor Martinez, with the relevant officials.

Talking with Metro Weekly about the challenges, Soloway said, ''The attorney general's statement and position on the Defense of Marriage Act is very relevant and we think that, regardless, the [relevant officials in immigration courts and the BIA] should take note of it. It could hardly be more relevant.''

In addition to the legal cases, Soloway – a co-founder of Immigration Equality – noted, ''There's room there to make policy, and I think that policy should be to hold those cases in abeyance.''

See full story, "DOMA's Immigration Implications :Bi-national gay and lesbian couples and their advocates see a sign of hope in the administration's recent conclusion that part of DOMA is unconstitutional."

From The Advocate:

"Though Atty. Gen. Eric Holder stressed in a February 23 announcement that the administration would continue to enforce DOMA, Soloway argues that executive agencies have the discretionary power to halt or postpone deportation orders affecting legally married gay couples — discretion it has used in other circumstances, including a 2009 moratorium on deporting widows or widowers of U.S. citizens who had been married for less than two years.

“Edwin and Rodrigo fall squarely at the intersection of this new position,” Soloway said of the administration and its stance on section 3 of DOMA, which bars the federal government from recognizing the marriages of same-sex couples. “This is an important act of protest ... and the beginning of a process by which they may one day receive the green card for Rodrigo that they deserve.”

Representatives Jerrold Nadler of New York and Zoe Lofgren of California, both well-known proponents of LGBT immigration rights in Congress, have both called upon the administration in recent interviews with The Advocate to stop deportations in cases like that of Martinez.
New York senator Kirsten Gillibrand, whose constituency includes binational gay couples facing deportation crises that have also drawn media attention in recent weeks, said in a Monday statement, “The recent news of deportations involving legally married gay and lesbian binational couples is heartbreaking.”

See full story, "DOMA's Continued Consequences."

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