Miami, FL (Law Firm Newswire) June 14, 2011 – There is a movement afoot to suspend deportations of gay married spouses. Whether it succeeds, may be questionable.
“The movement to suspend the deportation of married gay spouses exist largely because the Obama Administration considers the Defense of Marriage Act unconstitutional. It is interesting that they feel that way because deporting people because they are married and gay is also unconstitutional. That aside, the Defense of Marriage Act bars married gays from citizenship rights,” said Larry S. Rifkin, managing partner at Rikfin & Fox-Isicoff, an immigration law firm with law offices in Miami, Florida and Orlando, Florida.
Lately, there has been a lobby effort to mitigate this type of discrimination by issuing a letter, signed by 48 House of Representative members, and dovetailing its release with the reintroduction of the Uniting American Families Act, which, in part, allows most couples to stay together by including same sex partner marriages. “And the problem is? The problem is that one camp says immigration officials can protect married gay couples and the other camp, the administration, says the Defense of Marriage Act precludes that type of action,” said Rifkin, the Miami immigration attorney.
For those who are slightly confused, join the crowd. What is happening is that the devil in the details is getting in the way and one piece of legislation was not drafted in concert with another piece of legislation. Hence the stalemate, which begs the question: “If the administration really wants to resolve the immigration issue, and include everyone, then why are they standing on a principle that is an obstacle to the very thing they say they want?”
As typically happens with small glitches made into mountains, this situation has escalated out of control and become another media heyday. The issue is, stop deporting same sex couples until the section in the Defense of Marriage Act is changed or repealed. No one seems to want to do that. Hence, the pro camp and con camps are at loggerheads. “Really, it’s as simple as changing the legislation, if they want to do so,” Rifkin said. And, if no one wants to change the law, then why not?
As it stands, the Department of Homeland Security is insisting the Defense of Marriage Act will stay in effect and it will be enforced, unless or until Congress repeals it, or there is some kind of judicial decision that it is unconstitutional. “Makes you want to know why Congress won’t repeal the provision, doesn’t it? And furthermore, it makes you wonder about their supposed commitment to comprehensive immigration reform in terms of how it should apply to everyone,” Rifkin said.
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