Monday, February 18, 2013
The NY Times has an article today about gay or lesbian U.S. citizens who are forced to leave the U.S. and live in another country with their same-sex spouses. As many readers of this blog are aware, INA 201(b)(2)(A)(i) allows U.S. citizens or LPRs to file an I-130 petition on behalf of their spouses and help them obtain lawful permanent resident (LPR) status. However, same-sex married binational couples do not have this benefit. In Adams v. Howerton, 673 F.2d 1036 (9th Cir. 1982), the court (using canons of statutory construction) held that Congress could not have intended the term "spouse" in INA 201(b) to refer to a person of the same sex as the U.S. citizen.
President Obama seeks to address this inequality as reflected in his blueprint for immigration reform. Under his plan, U.S. citizens and LPRs would have the ability to petition for their same sex partners with whom they have a "permanent relationship." As this USA Today article reports, however, there are those in the Republican Party who think that including rights for same sex married couples in proposed immigration reform could derail comprehensive immigration reform.