A federal lawsuit filed by a lesbian couple seeks to put an end to the routine deportation of same-sex spouses. The lawsuit was filed in federal court in Santa Ana, California, and is intended to try to get immigration law to catch up with some of the major changes which have been taking place in family law in recent years.
One woman in the couple is a citizen of the Philippines who legally married a woman who is a U.S. citizen approximately three years ago. She received the necessary sponsorship from her employer to receive a green card, which, combined with a legal marriage, would ordinarily be the end of any immigration woes for the couple. Under the federal Defense of Marriage Act, a 16-year-old federal statute barring recognition of same sex marriage by the U.S. government, immigration authorities have been essentially disregarding the existence of the marriage.
The lawsuit was brought on behalf of both the couple and the 26-year-old son of the Philippine woman. The lawsuit seeks not only a stop to deportation efforts affecting the plaintiffs, but also an injunctive order requiring the U.S. government to recognize same-sex marriages for immigration law purposes. The couple would qualify for a waiver from deportation if they were an opposite-sex couple and could show that the deportation of one of them would cause extreme hardship to a spouse or parent who is a U.S. citizen.
The couple married in California in 2008. In addition to everything else, deportation would be detrimental to the Philippine woman spouse because of a medical condition she suffers from. There are a number of other pending lawsuits also challenging the U.S. government’s refusal to allow same-sex partners to sponsor their legal spouses for green cards and permanent resident status.
Source: Huffington Post-Los Angeles, “Jane DeLeon & Irma Rodriguez, Lesbian Couple, Files Federal Lawsuit To Stop Same-Sex Couple Deportation,” Amy Taxin, July 12, 2012