By Andrew Harmon, by the advocate
The Advocate has learned of a high-level meeting with LGBT groups where the administration rejected a hold on deciding gay couples’ green card petitions.
WASHINGTON, D.C. — The Obama administration is standing firm against calls by LGBT rights groups and lawmakers to put a blanket hold on deciding green card petitions from married, binational gay couples. Instead, those petitions in all likelihood will continue to be rejected, denying much-needed stability for gay families stuck in the nation’s immigration system. While the administration has taken affirmative steps in recent months to ensure that foreign nationals married to American spouses of the same sex are spared from actual deportation, officials told LGBT rights groups in a recent, high-level meeting that they will not hold such marriage-based green card petitions in abeyance. The decision is being criticized by some advocates as a campaign-year calculation based on politics, not on sound legal analysis. A year ago today, Atty. Gen. Eric Holder announced that the Obama administration would not defend a section of the Defense of Marriage Act that bars gay married couples from full federal rights and responsibilities of civil marriage. Those rights include the ability to sponsor a foreign spouse for permanent residency in the United States.
The administration has since pledged to continue enforcing the law, though it has declined to defend DOMA in multiple lawsuits and has worked around some of the 1996 law’s more severe consequences. President Obama issued a 2010 memo mandating hospital visitation rights for LGBT partners and spouses, for example, while the Justice Department dropped its opposition last year against joint bankruptcy filings by gay couples. But providing broad immigration relief to gay binational couples as DOMA’s constitutionality is decided appears to be a bridge too far at this point.The meeting between LGBT advocates and government officials occurred January 30 at the Department of Justice in Washington, D.C. and was attended by representatives of Lambda Legal, the National Center for Lesbian Rights, the Human Rights Campaign, Immigration Equality, and Gay & Lesbian Advocates & Defenders, The Advocate has learned. The administration in turn sent a contingent of senior officials from the White House, DOJ, and the Department of Homeland Security. According to multiple sources, those in attendance included White House LGBT liaison Gautam Raghavan, White House associate counsel to the president Kathleen Hartnett, Tony West, the assistant attorney general for the Justice Department’s civil division; and DHS executive secretary Philip McNamara, who last fall was appointed as an LGBT liaison to a Homeland Security working group reviewing the nation’s approximately 300,000 pending deportation cases.
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webmaster rant now
the election is coming up, the white house isn’t going to give an inch on any thing gay, so we have to pressure the white house and let them know loud and clear we want to get rid of DOMA, we want the uniting American families act passed and we want it done if he wants our vote and our money!
http://www.whitehouse.gov/contact Please don’t be afraid and demand your rights!