Friday, September 28, 2012

Prosecutorial Discretion for Same-Sex Couples Affirmed

Miranda Leitsinger writes for NBC News

Same-sex couples will be considered “family relationships” in immigration proceedings, according to Department of Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano, a move that could help stem the deportation of those in gay or lesbian binational relationships.

Close family ties to the United States are a factor considered by authorities in deportation cases, and gay and lesbian advocates have long argued for same-sex couples to have the same immigration rights as opposite-sex couples.

“In an effort to make clear the definition of the phrase ‘family relationships,’ I have directed ICE to disseminate written guidance to the field that the interpretation of the phrase ‘family relationships’ includes long-term, same-sex partners,” Napolitano said in a letter.

Eight-four members of Congress signed a joint letter to Napolitano on July 31 asking for her to put into writing an order to prevent the deportation and separation of immigrants from their American citizen same-sex partners.

. . . .[The order refers] to the prosecutorial discretion laid out in June 2011, when ICE Director John Morton issued a memo requiring staff  to consider the circumstances presented in individual deportation cases, such as whether the person has close family ties to the U.S. Read more...

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