Married Gay Couple, Sean and Steven, Fights DOMA Deportation in NYC Immigration Court
Tomorrow Sean and Steven will appear before a New York Immigration Judge to argue that Steven should not be deported to his native Colombia, where he has not lived for more than 12 years. (Read Sean’s original post here: “Eight Years After First Meeting, Sean and Steven Marry and File Green Card Petition, Joining Fight Against DOMA“). In November 2011, Sean filed a green card petition for his husband on the basis of their marriage. Just a few days ago, the petition was denied by the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services solely because of DOMA. The couple has filed an appeal of that decision.
Meanwhile, Steven has filed an application for cancellation of removal. Cancellation is a form of relief from deportation that results in a green card for a individual who has been present in the United States for more than 10 years, is of good moral character and can show that his deportation would cause extreme hardship to a “qualifying relative.” In this case, Steven argues that his deportation would cause extreme hardship to Sean. However, like Sean’s green card petition, the application for cancellation requires that the Immigration Judge recognize Sean as Steven’s spouse for all federal law purposes. Unlike Sean’s green card petition, the cancellation application directly implicates the Matter of Dorman, a case with similar facts still pending before the Board of Immigration Appeals. The U.S. Attorney General, Eric Holder, intervened last year in Matter of Dorman to ask that panel for a ruling as to whether the extreme hardship to a same-sex “partner” could be considered where a “spouse” could not be recognized due to DOMA, specifically in the context of a cancellation application. Sean and Steven will argue that this issue is as yet unsettled law and that no final decision should be made until it has been resolved. Sean and Steven are resolute that they will not be separated after 8 years. They join dozens of other couples who have demanded to be treated equally under the law, and who have joined the Stop The Deportations campaign.