Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Via ALCU: Don't Filter Me!

Reposted from JMG: Andrew Sullivan On Gay Deportations

"The US government regards gay Americans as sub-human in their needs and wants and rights. Their loves and relationships mean nothing under the law every time they encounter federal authoritah. Aaron and I are total strangers to one another in the eyes of federal law. And because we are legally married, I am paradoxically more vulnerable to being deported than I would be if I were single - because it's plain that I intend to reside in the US indefinitely, even though my visa has an expiration date.

"So I'm a risk - hence my huge anxiety if I ever leave the country. I am lucky to be able to apply for a Green Card on my own merits, under the rubric of what's called extraordinary ability in my field (it's still in process). But most people are not so lucky. They just fall in love. Only to have their own government rip their marriage apart, or force the American into exile. If this isn't wrong, what is?" - Andrew Sullivan, commenting on the news that the foreign partner of legally married binational gay couples may still be deported.

reposted from Joe

Repost from GetEqual:

Dear Daniel,

In December, when President Obama signed the "Don't Ask, Don't Tell Repeal Act of 2010," I breathed a sigh of relief. Although there is still work to do to make repeal fully inclusive and get it implemented, my hope was that at least now we would not lose another servicemember because of that discriminatory law. After so many discharges even as late as last year [1], I thought we were finally out of the woods.
Sadly, I thought wrong.
A short time ago, we were contacted by an active-duty servicemember who -- despite the repeal of this horrible law -- is still going through the process of being discharged. The process started for him on November 8, 2009, when someone anonymously outed him after seeing his MySpace page.
Within weeks, his discharge process began -- but it limped along while the government waffled about what to do about repeal. A year went by before he got any kind of update, each day believing it was his last day to serve his country. After the repeal bill was signed into law, he believed his case to be over.
But Derek got bad news earlier this month. Despite DADT repeal, his case is still being pursued and his hearing is scheduled for tomorrow. With implementation still not in place, is this the Navy's attempt to slip in another discharge or bully him with a hearing...just because they still can?
Click here to show your support for Derek and to fight back against his discharge!
Derek joined the Navy right after high school -- here are his own words:
This lengthy matter has been tearing me up; it has destroyed relationships and displaced loved ones who were relying on me. But even after the U.S. Government has made it clear they don’t want this law in effect the Navy has said that, because the paperwork has been submitted and the policy is technically still active, they have no choice but to continue.
I have been in the U.S. Navy since I graduated high school. It’s all I know and all I want to do. I have dreams of grandeur, hopes of retiring a young, highly-decorated, respected senior enlisted sailor. My resolve is weakened but not broken. I just have to place my fate in the hands of three strangers -- strangers who I hope have strong moral convictions and like-minded sentiments to my own.

Click here to add your name to the list of supporters Derek will take into his hearing with him!
Get Out! Get Active! GetEQUAL!
Robin McGehee, Director
[1] "Servicemembers United: An 'unusually high' 261 discharges under DADT in FY 2010" --
GetEQUAL icon

Via AMERICAblog Gay: 'There is light at the end of the tunnel for binational couples'

Lavi Soloway has a guest column over at Karen Ocamb's LGBT POV where he dissects the latest news from the United States Customs and Immigration Service (USCIS) relating to binational couples and DOMA. A lot has happened over the past couple days. Yesterday, USCIS confirmed to Metro Weekly that cases relating to same-sex couples have been put in "abeyance," pending resolution of DOMA.

Lavi, an immigration lawyer who also writes the blog, Stop The Deportations, explains what it means and who it helps for now:
This development will have the greatest impact on two groups of couples:

1. Married gay and lesbian couples where the foreign spouse lawfully entered the United States but is now an “overstay” and without lawful status. For these couples, the filing of an alien relative petition and application for adjustment of status to permanent resident should automatically give temporary lawful status to the foreign spouse for the duration of the period that the case is pending. If these applications are in fact held in abeyance until DOMA’s final demise, this could mean that couples who have wrestled for years with the nightmare of deportation, separation and instability caused by a lack of lawful status may now be on the verge of a new reality. The foreign spouse will not only receive (temporary) lawful status, but also employment authorization and potentially other benefits, as long as they have a pending green card application. Unfortunately, despite the temptation that this will present to many couples, for many it will be better to wait until there is greater certainty about this policy and the future of DOMA.

2. Married gay and lesbian couples who are already facing removal (deportation) proceedings. It is now likely that we will be able to stop virtually all deportation proceedings involving married gay and lesbian couples who have filed green card petitions/applications and who are, but for DOMA, otherwise eligible to receive a green card based on their marriage. Even couples in removal (deportation) proceedings must proceed cautiously when considering whether to marry and file a green card petition/application based on that marriage. However, unlike those who are not in proceedings, the risk of deportation is very real, and the likelihood is that this new development will provide protection to almost every couple facing deportation, if they are currently in proceedings.

There is light at the end of the tunnel for binational couples. The individual stories of binational couples suffering separation, exile or the threat of deportation continue to be our most important weapon in the fight against DOMA. There is still a long road ahead before we achieve full equality and we cannot be complacent.
DOMA really has to go.

John Boehner is going to be spending a lot of your tax dollars defending a law that is based on pure bigotry.

Via AMERICAblog Gay: Obama admin. now says 'abeyances' for binational couples could last only a week

Don't get too excited about the earlier news about binational same-sex couples. The light at the end of the tunnel might get a harder to see. Seems the "abeyance" we learned about yesterday might be short-lived -- like just a week long.

Actually, this is more of what I'd expect from the Department of Homeland Security:
Despite statements from leading organizations – most prominently, Immigration Equality – suggesting that the cases would be held in abeyance until DOMA’s constitutionality is settled, a DHS official told Metro Weekly on Monday night that the abeyance could last for as little as a week.

“[P]ursuant to CIS’s routine practice when there’s a new law or regulation that will potentially affect their resolution of certain cases, they hold [the cases] in abeyance until they get the final guidance from the general counsel’s office,” the official said. “DHS expects this issue to be resolved imminently.”

After that abeyance has ended, the official notes, “[I]n individual cases, USCIS has always had the authority to exercise discretion on a case-by-case basis, in light of the unique circumstances of that particular case.”
Seriously, Janet Napolitano, don't you have real security issues to worry about? And, don't think the Obama administration won't split families apart. They're deporting more people than Bush did.

DOMA really needs to go. Too bad our friends on Capitol Hill didn't try to repeal that law when they controlled the House and had 60 votes in the Senate. But, that was back in 2009 - 2010, when the White House didn't understand that actually passing pro-LGBT legislation was good politics. So, now, we wait for the courts and John Boehner will be using your tax dollars to fight against your equality.