COMING HOME! First Green Card Petition Approved for Gay Couple in DOMA Exile
Another first in the post-DOMA reality for binational couples: married, gay couple exiled in Canada becomes first to receive approval of green card petition that had been previously denied because of DOMA. Obama administration made good on the last week’s promise to review all green card petitions that had been denied based on DOMA. March 2011 denial of the green card petition filed by a gay married couple currently in exile has been reversed by the government!
Tom and Emilio met in 2001 in New York City. A year earlier, like so many other gay men from his country, Emilio had left Venezuela in search of a better life in the U.S. As Tom and Emilio fell in love and set out to plan a future together as a couple, they abruptly ran into the cold, hard brick wall reality of anti-gay discrimination in U.S. immigration law.
For over a decade they have been deprived of a basic right that most families take for granted. Tom and Emilio have been denied the right to live together in this country. They have been denied the opportunity to build a life together with the support of Tom’s supportive and loving extended family in New Jersey.
Although Tom is an American citizen, he and his husband, Emilio, have been forced to start a new life in Canada far from Tom’s family in New Jersey. And because of Emilio was deprived of the usual path to lawful status, sponsorship by his American spouse, he was deported from the United States. That deportation meant that Tom and Emilio could not return for at least 10 years.
However, today’s approval of a green card petition that Tom filed for Emilio means that Tom and Emilio would be able to come home at last, after six years in exile!