The U.S. Justice Department has delayed action on several cases involving gay binational couples, creating the possibility that the foreign partner could get a marriage-based green card should the Supreme Court outlaw a portion of the Defense of Marriage Act.
The DOJ’s Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA) sent the cases back for further fact-based investigations to determine whether the couples would be eligible for relief were it not for DOMA, an attorney involved in some of the cases told Metro Weekly.
The move in the cases is “historic” – according to the attorney, Lavi Soloway – and reflects the agency’s apparent view that “there may very well be, a year from now, a post-DOMA world,” he said.
Three of the cases reviewed by Metro Weekly involved visa requests, while the other involved a request to reopen an immigration case in removal proceedings. The BIA decisions all require similar follow-up action and use almost identical language, despite appearing to have been signed by three different BIA members on behalf of the board.
Last month, the 1st U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Boston said DOMA, which defines marriage as a union between a man and a woman, discriminated against gay couples. The law was passed in 1996 when it appeared Hawaii would legalize gay marriage. Many states have since instituted their own bans on gay marriage, while eight states have approved it, led by Massachusetts in 2004.
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