On June 26, 2013, the United States Supreme Court issued its decision in United States vs. Windsor, invalidating the so-called Defense of Marriage Act or DOMA, which barred the federal government from recognizing any marriage that was not between one man and one woman. The Supreme Court’s decision has far-reaching implications in federal law, including immigration.
President Obama immediately instructed his cabinet to implement the decision “swiftly and smoothly.” Janet Napolitano, the Secretary of Homeland Security, issued a press release stating that she would work with the Attorney General to assure “that all married couples are treated fairly and equally in the administration of our immigration laws.”
Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender foreign nationals will now be eligible for the same immigration benefits through marriage in immigration that their straight counterparts have been eligible for, so long as they have been married in a state or country that performs same-sex marriages. This includes visa petitions for immigrants and non-immigrants, as well as a myriad of defenses from deportation. Presumably, the federal government will also recognize step-child and step-parent relationships, as well as fiancee relationships, involving same-sex spouses.
At Joseph Law Firm, we have actively been working on immigration benefits for same-sex couples for quite some time now. We are pleased to be filing for immigration benefits for those same-sex couples that have entered into valid and lawful marriages in states and countries which recognize same-sex marriages. If you believe that you may be impacted by the Supreme Court’s decision, please contact our office immediately to set up an appointment to speak with one of our attorneys.