The Consequences of DOMA in Immigration
The Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) was passed by Congress in 1996, which defines marriage as a legal union between one man and one woman. Since the federal government has the sole power to regulate all aspects of immigration, immigration agencies apply DOMA’s definition of marriage. As of today, a number of states and foreign countries permit same-sex marriages; however, lawfully married gay and lesbian spouses cannot successfully petition for their spouse for the same immigration benefits different-sex couples receive.
In February 2011, the Obama administration announced that DOMA’s definition of marriage is unconstitutional and would no longer enforce it in federal court challenges. Still, Attorney General Eric Holder stated that the Department of Justice would still enforce DOMA pending legislative repeal or final judicial decision.
Currently, many same-sex couples face the uncertainty of whether their immigrant spouses will be subject to deportation. Despite DOMA, a same-sex couple has found relief, which may be hope for others.
*The information provided in this post does not constitute legal advice or opinion. The information is for guidance purposes only. Individual situations vary and you should contact us for a consultation.