Same sex binational spouses could still face deportation while DOMA lives

By Megan Carpentier
Friday, May 18, 2012 15:36 EDT
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Heather Morgan and Maria del Mar Verdugo [Image by Megan Carpentier]
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On April 2, 2012, the immigration rights organization Immigration Equality filed Blesch v. Holder on behalf of five married same sex couples who faced forcible separation by the government of the United States under the Defense of Marriage Act because one spouse is not an American citizen. Because DOMA prohibits the federal government from recognizing same sex marriages performed even in states where it is legal, American spouses in same sex relationships cannot sponsor their legal partners for green cards, which restricts those partners’ abilities to work and puts them at risk for deportation.

Although the Obama Administration has effectively stopped deporting same sex spouses of American citizens temporarily, they will not issue those spouses green cards and, of course, any new Administration could reverse the current practice and resume the deportation of these couples. Immigration Equality estimates that there are over 35,000 such couples in the United States and that, between them, they are raising 25,000 children.

The ten named plaintiffs in the suit, including Edwin Blesch and his husband Tim Smulian, Frances Herbert and her wife Takako Ueda, Heather Morgan and her wife Maria del Mar Verdugo, Santiago Ortiz and his husband Pablo Garcia, and Kelli Ryan and her wife Lucy Truman, spoke to Raw Story last night about their relationships and what the possibility of being separated means for their lives.

Watch that video, recorded on May 17, 2012, below:

Megan Carpentier
Megan Carpentier is the executive editor of Raw Story. She previously served as an associate editor at Talking Points Memo; the editor of news and politics at Air America; an editor at Jezebel.com; and an associate editor at Wonkette. Her published works include pieces for the Washington Post, the Washington Independent, Ms Magazine, RH Reality Check, the Women's Media Center, On the Issues, the New York Press, Bitch and Women's eNews.
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