Napolitano’s same-sex couples directive: a milestone in immigration justice

Repost from The Guardian

Until now, even legally married gay couples were discriminated against in immigration cases. Meaningful reform begins at last

Things seemed grim, last fall, for John Brandoli, a US citizen in Massachusetts, and his Trinidadian husband, Michael. Though their marriage was recognized by the state, it did not come with the benefit they most urgently needed. Because of the federal Defense of Marriage Act (Doma), John could not sponsor Michael for a green card.

As a result, Michael was facing deportation to Trinidad, one of the most dangerous places in the hemisphere for gay people. Michael’s American husband and mother-in-law were very anxious when they called my organization, Immigration Equality, for help. Our team – which talks to lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender immigrants every day – mounted a media and advocacy campaign to stop Michael’s deportation. Thanks to his determined family, and the support of Senator John Kerry, he won.

In August 2011, the Obama administration had announced that couples like Michael and John shouldn’t have to pull out all the stops to stay together. The administration pledged to review pending deportation cases and grant “prosecutorial discretion” to those who had committed no crime and could show equities like ties to an American family. When the administration described the plan on phone calls with press, advocacy groups, and congressional staffers, they stated clearly: “We consider LGBT families to be families in this context.”

This was a watershed. The American immigration system had neverconsidered LGBT families like John and Michael to be families in any context. Until 1990, LGBT foreigners could be barred from entering the US entirely. America’s immigration system is based on family unification, but gay families don’t count. Continue Reading

2 Responses to “Napolitano’s same-sex couples directive: a milestone in immigration justice”


  1. 1 globalequality October 1, 2012 at 10:17 am

    whoops. I updated it . Henry Pacheco Council Coordinator The Council for Global Equality ph: 202.719.0511 cell: 415.335.1756 http://www.globalequality.org Global Equality Today blog Facebook Twitter

  2. 2 Mike Martinez October 1, 2012 at 11:03 am

    Just found your blog today for the first time! Global Equality….I like it!


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