Government decision allows LGBT couples to file green card applications

376
Ascencion Party Fire Island stage in 2013

U. S. Capitol photo by Sandra LubranoU.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has said that the agency will now allow Americans with same-sex spouses from abroad to apply for green cards while the courts weigh constitutional challenges to the federal Defense of Marriage Act.

“USCIS has issued guidance to the field,” USCIS Spokesman Christopher Bentley announced, “asking that related cases be held in abeyance while awaiting final guidance related to distinct legal issues.”

Last week, Immigration Equality’s legal team filed a green card application on behalf of Edwin Blesch, an American citizen, and Tim Smulian, his South African husband.  Despite being legally married in South Africa – a marriage recognized in Edwin’s home state of New York – the couple has struggled to remain together.  Edwin struggles with failing health and increasingly depends on Tim as his primary caretaker. The couple joined Immigration Equality in hailing today’s announcement.

“Every day, we live with the very real possibility that, despite following every law and every policy of the United States, Tim will be forced to leave the country, and I will be left without my caretaker and the love of my life,” Blesch said in a statement. “Today’s news gives us great relief, and great hope that we may soon be able to put that worry behind us. For the first time, we can begin to plan the rest of our lives together without fear that we will be torn apart.”

Couples who believe they may be impacted by this decision are encouraged to contact Immigration Equality’s legal team for free, confidential advice at www.immigrationequality.org/contactus.php.

U. S. Capitol photo by Sandra LubranoU.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has said that the agency will now allow Americans with same-sex spouses from abroad to apply for green cards while the courts weigh constitutional challenges to the federal Defense of Marriage Act.

“USCIS has issued guidance to the field,” USCIS Spokesman Christopher Bentley announced, “asking that related cases be held in abeyance while awaiting final guidance related to distinct legal issues.”