Same-Sex Marriage and Immigration
The story of same-sex marriage and its relationship with immigration took an unfortunate turn in 1996 with the enactment of the federal Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA). That law, in effect, allowed states to refuse to recognize the legitimacy of same-sex marriage. The impact on immigration because of this issue was significant, since many avenues of entering the US, remaining here, obtaining visas, and lawful legal status, are usually available to a person marrying a US citizen.
But in 2013, the United States Supreme Court decided the case of United States v. Windsor. Specifically, the court ruled that section 3 of DOMA, which denied federal recognition of same-sex marriages, violated the Due Process clause of the US Constitution. The result of this landmark case is significant in that if your spouse – regardless of sex – is a US citizen, they can sponsor you in obtaining a Green Card. And as time has elapsed, the USCIS has been required to provide same-sex couples the same preferences and benefits that are and have traditionally been afforded to different-sex couples.
The only caveat is this: to take advantage of the laws as partner in a same-sex marriage, your marriage must have taken place in a state or in another country where same-sex marriages are legally recognized.
Members of the LGBTQIA+ community make up a considerable number of those immigrants seeking asylum in the US. The reason is simple: many people legitimately face the fear of persecution in their country of origin because of prejudice. That is certainly one of the grounds for seeking asylum under the immigration laws.
Note, however, that as with all those seeking asylum in the United States, filing deadlines and other requirements exists. Failure to adhere to the procedures could delay or even negate your ability to remain here or to seek a specific immigration status. That is one of the reasons why it is important to obtain the counsel of an experienced immigration attorney when seeking asylum or when dealing in any other way with the immigration laws.
Deportation and Removal
The deportation and removal process applies equally to LGBT clients. Many of the procedures are complex, and the guidelines in this area are often vague. We are mindful that the complexity and vagueness can be used by some officials to hinder members of the LGBT community from obtaining their rights under the immigration laws. And we stand ready to fight for your rights if that were to occur.
Phoenix LGBT Immigration Lawyer
One would think that after the United States Supreme Court had spoken on the issue, the fact that a person is gay or lesbian, for example, would not provide any basis to have their legal rights questioned. But as noted above, not all the laws and guidelines governing immigration rights are clear. In fact, they are often difficult or impossible for a person who has no experience in the area to understand. And prejudices still exist, no matter what the state of the law may be.
At Castañeda Immigration Law, we believe it is our job to ensure that all who come to us for assistance, regardless of their sexual orientation and related issues, receive excellent representation in their quest to achieve their immigration goals.