Thursday, April 14, 2011

Rep. Zoe Lofgren Letter to the Administration Urges DHS & DOJ to Halt Deportations and Restore Abeyance

Rep. Jerrold Nadler (D-NY) and 98 co-sponsors re-introduced the Uniting American Families Act (UAFA), a bill that he has championed in each successive Congress since 2000, which would provide relief for most binational couples by expanding family-based immigration to include same-sex partners of American citizens and permanent residents.  A companion bill was introduced in the Senate by Senator Patrick Leahy (D-VT) with a record 18 co-sponsors.

The day's other big news was that California Congresswoman Zoe Lofgren, who had not previously co-sponsored UAFA, now not only joined her Democratic colleagues in support of the bill, but also took a leadership role in the call for executive branch action in light of the administration's changed position on DOMA. With 48 House members co-signing, Rep. Lofgren today sent a strongly worded letter to Homeland Security Secretary Napolitano and Attorney General Holder urging them to halt deportations of spouses of gay and lesbian Americans and put all green card applications filed by married, same-sex couples into "abeyance," restoring the policy that was announced and then retracted just two weeks ago. Lofgren, who is the ranking minority member on the House Subcommittee on Immigration, joins Senator Kerry (D-Mass) who last week, together with a dozen U.S. Senators, wrote to DHS and DOJ to do the same.

See also, "Immigration Battle Heats Up, The Advocate, April 14, 2011, excerpted here:

"At least one binational gay couple, Henry Velandia and Josh Vandiver, currently face imminent deportation proceedings. Velandia, a Venezuelan citizen, married his American spouse in 2009 in Connecticut, and has a deportation hearing scheduled May 6.

“The administration has both an opportunity and responsibility to complement legislative efforts now by ensuring that all binational couples are protected from deportation or separation until we have achieved inclusion and equality in family-based immigration,” said Lavi Soloway, the couple’s attorney and cofounder of Stop the Deportations. “If the administration fails to act, irreversible legal consequences of deportation will mean that many binational couples and their families will be torn apart permanently and will unable to access the family unification immigration process even after DOMA is repealed or struck down by the Supreme Court."

Both Nadler and Lofgren pushed early for halting deportations in such cases after the administration’s February announcement that it would no longer defend DOMA in pending legal challenges."


  1. From the bottom of my heart, thank you Lavi and Noemi, for all your work, for love.

    ~Madison Reed

  2. My partner and I have never been able to marry, even though it has been one of our strong desires to be able to marry some day. Visa restrictions make it a near impossibility for both of us to be physically present in a marriage equality country. So we've lived apart for years now. It's been more than 3 years since I've seen him. It's not a pleasant thought to think that we might still yet have years to go before we can lead a normal, happy life. These years that could be filled with happy memories together are being taken from us by our government. It's sad and unforgettable.

  3. dave francis saleApril 14, 2011 at 5:24 PM

    yes i am hoping and praing this bill will pass soon. aim also in the situation that at this point of turning back in going to the US as imigrant if i cnat bring my partner. we are both filipinos and we deserve to love and we are committed. iam going to the US with greencard because iam a nurse i hope with this bill i cn petition my partner

  4. I'd like to echo Madison here. You two are doing amazing work and please don't underestimate how much hope and empowerment you promote by the actions you are taking, including this blog. Thank you both!

  5. I'd also like to echo Madison; Lavi and Noemi, for the first time in the 17 years my partner and I have been together, we see a light at the end of the tunnel, feeling far more confident that the results we're all hoping for are that much more a possibility. From the bottom of our hearts, thank you for all your hard work!