Victory! Board of Immigration Appeals Refuses to Affirm Denials of Green Card Petitions Filed by Four Gay Couples, Remands for Determination on Eligibility of Marriages
The DOMA Project has won an important, unprecedented victory in the fight for green cards for married gay and lesbian binational couples. In four separate rulings, the Board of Immigration Appeals has rejected the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services’ “DOMA denials” of green card petitions filed by four married, gay couples residing in Florida, New York, Pennsylvania and Canada. In all cases, the BIA ordered the USCIS to complete full fact-finding to determine whether the marriages are legally valid and whether, notwithstanding DOMA Section 3, the spouse would qualify for a green card under the Immigration & Nationality Act. In one case, the ruling re-opened removal proceedings for the spouse of a gay American who had an outstanding deportation order. The Board of Immigration Appeals has never before re-opened removal proceedings or remanded green card petitions back to USCIS after denials based solely on DOMA Section 3.
“We are elated that the Department of Justice has ordered USCIS to treat the marriages of each gay binational couple with respect by requiring that a complete record of eligibility be created,” said attorney Lavi Soloway in reaction to the rulings.
We will follow up with a complete report next week on this site.
The BIA rulings were reported today by Chris Geidner at MetroWeekly here.
Read more about two of the couples involved: Mark Himes and Frederic Deloizy of Harrisburg, Pennsylvania and Tom Smeraldo and Emilio Ojeda, formerly of New Jersey now living in exile in Toronto, Canada.