UPDATE: Is DOMA Sinking? AG Holder Vacates Gay Deportation Case

5 May

While Organizations like ALL OUT and GetEQUAL are pushing to stop tomorrow’s deportation of Henry Valendia, thus tearing him away from his legal marriage with Joshua Vandiver, it seems Attorney General Eric Holder is taking further steps to discredit the ant-gay Defense of Marriage Act.

According to Chris Geidner at Metroweekly, AG Holder has vacated a decision made by a Board of Immigration Appeals decision.

Holder writes:

“Pursuant to my authority set forth in 8 C.F.R. § 1003.1(h)(1)(i), I order that the decision of the Board of Immigration Appeals (“Board”) in this case applying Section 3 of the Defense of Marriage Act (“DOMA”), 1 U.S.C. § 7, be vacated, and that this matter be referred to me for review.”

Geidner continues:

Saying the attorney general “has taken [an] extraordinary step” with the decision, attorney Eric Berndt — the supervising attorney for the National Asylum Partnership on Sexual Minorities at the National Immigrant Justice Center — told Metro Weekly, “It adds some heft to our requests for prosecutorial discretion in individual cases in which the foreign partner” of a same-sex bi-national couple is seeking a green card because of his or her citizen same-sex partner.

Holder goes on to state four questions that he directs the BIA to consider:

In the exercise of my review authority under that regulation, and upon consideration of the record in this case, I direct that the order of the Board be vacated and that this matter be remanded to the Board to make such findings as may be necessary to determine whether and how the constitutionality of DOMA is presented in this case, including, but not limited to: 1) whether respondent’s same-sex partnership or civil union qualifies him to be considered a “spouse” under New Jersey law; 2) whether, absent the requirements of DOMA, respondent’s same-sex partnership or civil union would qualify him to be considered a “spouse” under the Immigration and Nationality Act; 3) what, if any, impact the timing of respondent’s civil union should have on his request for that discretionary relief; and 4) whether, if he had a “qualifying relative,” the respondent would be able to satisfy the exceptional and unusual hardship requirement for cancellation of removal.

This could be extraordinary news, considering Holder’s specific questions. It’s apparent from his requests to the BIA that state’s rights may be violated by DOMA, considering his mention of “New Jersey law.” Let us hope this is good news for Joshua and Henry (who is set for deportation tomorrow).

There is a rally scheduled for tomorrow in Newark from 11-12am – Department of Homeland Security/Newark Immigration Court – Peter Rodino Federal Building, 970 Broad Street, Newark, NJ. Please attend if you can and also please visit ALL OUT’s Petition to help stop this cruel punishment for a couple whose only crime was getting married.

***************UPDATE********************

According to Metroweekly’s Chris Geidner:

Attorney Lavi Soloway tells Metro Weekly that Henry Velandia’s deportation proceedings have been adjourned, in part, because of Attorney General Eric Holder’s decision to vacate the Board of Immigration Appeals decision in another case involving a same-sex couple on Thursday. Moreover, Soloway says, “The government attorney agreed to adjourn the case.”

This is excellent news and proves that when we rally and get people to join together around something, we can win. Please keep this in mind and kep working hard when we ware called to action. We CAN make a difference!

3 Responses to “UPDATE: Is DOMA Sinking? AG Holder Vacates Gay Deportation Case”

  1. Dace May 7, 2011 at 1:37 am #

    I can relate to this situation as many others. My partner is an American and we had to move to Canada to be able to be together.

    We met in US while I was there on a temporary work permit. I had no intentions to stay in the Unites States of America till I met my partner. we had a tough choice to make, be together and move to a country where we can be or to go our separate ways. Our love was stronger and we moved to Canada where we have lived for the last 5 years.

    However, my partner had to leave her family and friends behind. She has to choose between her country and me. It is not an easy choice to make…

  2. business daily May 19, 2011 at 10:57 pm #

    Since then weve had a lot of mail about the editorial some asking what it was based on..The editorial was pegged to a new by the American Cause a right-wing think tank that analyzed the 2008 Congressional elections through a nativist lens arguing that Republican House candidates failed by being too soft on immigration and thus alienating white people. See for example these pdfs from the pro-immigrant group Americas Voice arguing that would have been a better strategy and noting the among G.O.P.

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. Deportation Halted in Same-Sex Marriage Immigration Case « Talk About Equality - June 30, 2011

    […] at the same time – overturning the so-called Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA). As we discussed here recently, there have been several challenges to the constitutionality of DOMA, including now 14 federal […]

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