Gay couples may get reprieve in deportation cases

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Gay couples may get reprieve in deportation cases

CREATED Sep 28, 2012

Web Producer: Taylor Avey


SAN FRANCISCO (AP) - The Department of Homeland Security is planning to issue a policy memo stating illegal immigrants with American same-sex partners are eligible for consideration of having their deportation put on hold.

Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano delivered the news on Thursday in a letter to 84 Democratic lawmakers who had pressed her agency to provide written guidance.  The policy expected to go out next week falls under a federal program designed to focus resources away from low-priority deportation cases.

Napolitano says the memo to Immigration and Customs Enforcement offices will state that binational gay couples in long-term relationships would meet the definition of family that government lawyers can use as grounds for deferring a foreign citizen's removal from the U.S.

The policy does not mean Americans who are married to same-sex foreigners will be able to sponsor their spouses' green card applications.

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