Written by Rob Rutland-Brown, Executive Director.
This summer I visited San Francisco to meet with our JFON site there (JFON-BAIT) and to meet with the JFON attorneys who attended the annual American Immigration Lawyers gathering. While I was there, the Supreme Court announced its ruling striking down DOMA. As you might imagine, San Francisco was an exciting place to be during this announcement. On my way out of town, I snapped this photo of City Hall preparing for a celebration.
The ruling will have extra significance for many gay immigrants who previously were unable to file certain visa petitions to sponsor same-sex spouses or fiancés for immigration benefits. The announcement, which USCIS quickly responded to, will affect thousands of immigrants whose sexual orientation has kept them separated from their loved ones. Furthermore, at the conference in San Francisco, USCIS Director Alejandro Mayorkas announced that USCIS had been keeping track of which visa petitions were recently denied due to the petition being for a same-sex relationship, and suggested that these applications may be reviewed.
On August 2nd, Secretary of State John Kerry said “Effective immediately, when same-sex spouses apply for a visa, the Department of State will consider that application in the same manner that it will consider the application of opposite-sex spouses.”
The JFON network and immigration law practitioners around the country remain abuzz about how fast and to what extent the DOMA ruling will play out for affected immigrants. I am hopeful that the ruling puts same-sex immigrant couples one step closer to living freely with those they love, with equal benefits, and I am grateful that JFON will be there to help them.