Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano told reporters today that the Obama administration cannot put on hold marriage-based green card applications for binational same-sex couples because of DOMA, the Washington Blade reports:
When asked by the Washington Blade on Monday during a White House news conference, Napolitano asserted DHS can’t take such action, which could protect bi-national gay couples from separation stop the deportation process in some extreme cases.
“The legal advice we have received is that we can’t put them in abeyance because DOMA remains the law,” Napolitano said. “We’d like to see that law overturned. In practical terms, however, most of those cases fall within very, very low priority in terms of what we’ve done over the last years, which is to build priorities into immigration enforcement, so we’re not seeing, in practicality, those deportations occur.
In 2009, DHS took such action for the widows of U.S. citizens when Napolitano ordered U.S. Citizenship & Immigration Services to grant deferred action widows who are foreign nationals and suspend adjudication of their visa petitions and adjustment applications.
Asked why her department couldn’t take similar action for bi-national same-sex couples, Napolitano replied, “Well, because of DOMA.”
More at the Blade…