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Friday, August 3, 2012

Nancy Pelosi, Fellow Dems Say Immigration Policy Should Recognize LGBT Couples

Posted By on Fri, Aug 3, 2012 at 4:45 PM

click to enlarge There might not be a more Democratic issue than immigration rights for same-sex couples.
  • There might not be a more Democratic issue than immigration rights for same-sex couples.

Undocumented immigrants in same-sex marriages are perhaps the most polarizing slice of the American populace right now (slightly ahead of NBC's gymnastics commentators).

This week, Congresswoman Nancy Pelosi and scores of other Democrats signed a letter seeking to protect LGBT couples, urging the Obama Administration to officially acknowledge LGBT relationships when assessing who to deport.

Under Obama's policy of prosecutorial discretion -- focusing resources on undocumented immigrants with criminal records and showing more leniency toward the upstanding citizens -- an immigrant with strong family ties is less likely to face deportation proceedings.

President Obama has asserted that immigration officials reviewing the cases should consider a same-sex relationship in the same light as an opposite-sex relationship. The group of Dems, however, want this codified into the language of the written guidance.

The federal government does not recognize gay marriage, as established in the Defense of Marriage Act, which Obama has declared unconstitutional. The administration has called on the Supreme Court to repeal the law. In the meantime, though, a same-sex marriage between an American citizen and an immigrant does not make the immigrant eligible for a green card.

Advocates worry that the vagaries of prosecutorial discretion don't ensure that authorities give an immigrant credit for a same-sex relationship. Democrats made a similar push for more specific deportation guidelines in September to which the Department of Homeland Security replied that "LGBT individuals' ties and contributions to the community are taken into account."

This week's effort comes days before the legislators return home to campaign. Good timing, considering the Chick-fil-A controversy has energized both sides of the gay marriage debate, perhaps loosening their pockets as the fall election approaches.

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