The Department of Homeland Security is planning to issue a policy memo stating illegal immigrants with American same-sex partners are eligible for consideration of having their deportation put on hold.
Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano delivered the news on Thursday in a letter to 84 Democratic lawmakers who had pressed her agency to provide written guidance. The policy, expected to go out next week, falls under a federal program designed to focus resources away from low-priority deportation cases
Napolitano says the memo to Immigration and Customs Enforcement offices will state that binational gay couples in long-term relationships would meet the definition of family that government lawyers can use as grounds for deferring a foreign citizen's removal from the U.S.
The policy does not mean Americans who are married to same-sex foreigners will be able to sponsor their spouses' green card applications.
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