NY Judge Stops Deportation Hearing For Gay Bi-National Couple Minutes After DOMA Falls
Just minutes after the Supreme Court (rightfully) struck down Article 3 of the Defense of Marriage Act for being un constitutional a NYC immigration judge stopped the deportation proceedings for a gay Colombian man married to a U.S. citizen.
The moments up to the proceedings being stopped were dramatic, says Lavi Soloway, co-founder of the DOMA Project. “A copy of the 77-page Supreme Court decision in United States v. Windsor was delivered to the court by our summer intern, Gabe, who ran five blocks and made it in time for the decision to be submitted to the Immigration Judge and to serve a copy on the Immigration & Customs Enforcement Assistant Chief Counsel.” Soloway added that the ruling “was still warm from the printer.”
Before the historic ruling Sean Brooks and his Colombian husband Steven’s marriage did not exist in the eyes of the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). Therefore, USCIS had cancelled Steven’s green card petition.
The ordeal for the couple started in 2011 when Sean, the American citizen, tried to file a green card petition for his husband based on their same-sex marriage. This left Steven in a visa limbo and vulnerable to deportation. Steven, who had not been back to Colombia for twelve years, applied to have his deportation cancelled based on the hardship that his deportation would incur on his spouse. The request was denied because federal law did not recognize same-sex couples.
Now because of the Supreme Court ruling roughly 24,700 other bi-national same-sex couples will no longer have to worry about being separated from their loved one because of DOMA