Janet Napolitano Hub

The U.S. Delegation to the Olympics Offers a Few Thoughts: VIDEO


Janet Napolitano, Caitlin Cahow, and Brian Boitano offer a few thoughts to gay journalist Charlie Cullen Walters from Sochi (which looks downright tropical!).


Continue reading "The U.S. Delegation to the Olympics Offers a Few Thoughts: VIDEO" »

Janet Napolitano Talks Sochi, 'Evolves' on Gay Marriage: VIDEO


Former Secretary of Homeland Security and current President of the University of California Janet Napolitano, who has been chosen by President Obama to lead the U.S. delegation to the Winter Olympic Games in Sochi, Russia (which includes three openly gay athletes), sat down with David Gregory on Meet the Press to talk about the security at the Games and the recent series of bombings.

"We would like to demonstrate that the United States is a very free and open and tolerant society. I'm going to support my country and support my team, and partly to support the University of California which is the largest public research university in the world."

Gregory also asks her about her political views and position on same-sex marriage which she refused to support during her tenure with the Obama administration. Napolitano tells Gregory she has evolved:

"Like many in political and elective life in the early part of this century the evolution hadn’t occurred, and my statements were very much in that way. This was something that society in a way, the arc of history, as it were, needed to get there, and the arc of history has clearly arrived.”

Gregory also asks her about Hillary Clinton and if she believes Clinton would be a "fresh voice" in the coming presidential election.


Continue reading "Janet Napolitano Talks Sochi, 'Evolves' on Gay Marriage: VIDEO" »

For Immigration Purposes, Validity of Same-Sex Marriages Likely to Be Based On Where Couples Were Married

Screen Shot 2013-07-23 at 11.46.09 AM

Last week, the Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA), the highest administrative body in the Department of Justice that considers immigration matters, ruled in a pending case that same-sex couples' marriages should be viewed in light of where the couple was married (the so-called 'place of celebration rule') rather than the state in which the couple lives (the 'place of domicile rule'). The decision, which will likely hold sway in future cases, brings some clarity to the confusing issue of how and when the federal government will recognize same-sex marriage licenses as valid.

The BIA ruling follows an announcement in late June by Department of Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano, who said her office would opt for the 'place of celebration rule,'--a decision which diverged from previous practices based on where a couple lived but which would have held no sway outside her department. Writing on his blog Art Leonard Observations, New York Law School Professor Arthur Leonard explains the details behind the new decision:

Serge Polajenko, a U.S. citizen, filed a Petition for Alien Relative, called an I-130, on March 10, 2010, on behalf of his husband, Oleg Zeleniak, after the men were married in Vermont. The petition was denied on July 27, 2010, on the ground that DOMA, Section 3, barred immigration authorities from recognizing same-sex marriages. Polajenko appealed to the BIA, which issued a decision on April 18, 2012, sending the case back to the National Benefits Center Director to address two issues: first, whether the Polajenko-Zeleniak marriage was valid under state law, and second, whether the marriage qualifies as bona fide as required by the Immigration and Nationality Act.

The questions posed by BIA are two distinctly separate issues, arising under two different bodies of law. The second concerns the requirement that a marriage be “bona fide,” not a marriage of convenience entered for the purpose of getting a “green card” (authorization to live and work in the United States), but rather a “real marriage” of parties intending to live as spouses.

In its decision, the BIA held that the Supreme Court's ruling in the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) case U.S. v. Windsor "removed Section 3 of the DOMA as an impediment to the recognition of lawful same-sex marriages and spouses if the marriage is valid under the laws of the State where it was celebrated." The BIA remanded the case to the National Benefits Center Director to determine whether the marriage was indeed bona fide.

ArtLeonardAs Leonard points out, the BIA's ruling in the Zeleniak case now stands as precedent establishing the 'place of celebration rule' as the proper standard to use in immigration proceedings. "Although the BIA did not address the issue directly," Leonard goes on to explain, "presumably the place of celebration rule also extends to marriages between U.S. citizens and foreign nationals that take place outside the U.S., in one of the dozen or so other countries that allow same-sex marriages."

Now that the BIA and the Department of Homeland Security are both committed to using the 'place of celebration rule,' same-sex couples' marriages should be recognized for immigration purposes regardless of where they're living. Still, the legal wrangling around the issue demonstrates that complexity will persist until DOMA is fully repealed or the Respect for Marriage Act is passed by Congress.

Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano Resigns to Be University of California President

Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano is resigning to become the President of the University of California system, the L.A. Times reports:

NapolitanoHer appointment also means the 10-campus system will be headed by a woman for the first time in its 145-year history.

Napolitano’s nomination by a committee of UC regents came after a secretive process that insiders said focused on her early as a high-profile, although untraditional, candidate who has led large public agencies and shown a strong interest in improving education.

UC officials believe that her Cabinet experiences –- which include helping to lead responses to hurricanes and tornadoes and overseeing some anti-terrorism measures -- will help UC administer its federal energy and nuclear weapons labs and aid its federally funded research in medicine and other areas.

Administration officials confirmed her resignation.

Janet Napolitano: Gay Binational Couples Eligible for Green Cards

Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano has released a statement regarding immigration visa petitions and gay binational couples:

Napolitano“After last week’s decision by the Supreme Court holding that Section 3 of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) is unconstitutional, President Obama directed federal departments to ensure the decision and its implication for federal benefits for same-sex legally married couples are implemented swiftly and smoothly. To that end, effective immediately, I have directed U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) to review immigration visa petitions filed on behalf of a same-sex spouse in the same manner as those filed on behalf of an opposite-sex spouse.”

The Department of Homeland Security has also released this FAQ:

Q1: I am a U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident in a same-sex marriage to a foreign national. Can I now sponsor my spouse for a family-based immigrant visa?

A1: Yes, you can file the petition. You may file a Form I-130 (and any applicable accompanying application). Your eligibility to petition for your spouse, and your spouse’s admissibility as an immigrant at the immigration visa application or adjustment of status stage, will be determined according to applicable immigration law and will not be automatically denied as a result of the same-sex nature of your marriage.

Q2: My spouse and I were married in a U.S. state that recognizes same-sex marriage, but we live in a state that does not. Can I file an immigrant visa petition for my spouse?

A2: Yes, you can file the petition. In evaluating the petition, as a general matter, USCIS looks to the law of the place where the marriage took place when determining whether it is valid for immigration law purposes. That general rule is subject to some limited exceptions under which federal immigration agencies historically have considered the law of the state of residence in addition to the law of the state of celebration of the marriage. Whether those exceptions apply may depend on individual, fact-specific circumstances. If necessary, we may provide further guidance on this question going forward.

Napolitano: Can't Help Gay Binational Couples Because of DOMA

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:

NapolitanoWhen 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...


Towleroad - Blogged