Victory! New Jersey gay couple safe from deportation nightmare

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Velandia and Vandiver Immigration problemVenezuelan native Henry Velandia no longer has to fear being separated from his husband in New Jersey, Josh Vandiver, due to the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA). Immigration & Customs Enforcement (ICE) has administratively closed the deportation proceedings against Velandia.

The couple married in Connecticut last year. As a US citizen, Vandiver has the right to apply for a green card on behalf of his married partner. But, because of the DOMA, the federal government is not allowed to recognize the marriages of same-gender couples. ICE is charged with dealing with the marriages of binational and gay couples even though the Obama administration has recently decided not to continue to defend DOMA.

Lavi Soloway, the attorney for the couple and one of the founders of Stop the Deportation – the DOMA Project, said in a press release, “This historic decision by the government to close deportation proceedings against Henry Velandia allows him to stay in the United States with his American husband, Josh Vandiver, without the fear that they will be torn apart… this decision will lay the foundation for administrative closure of other other deportation cases involving gay and lesbian couples.”

Vandiver will still have to fight to get Velandia a green card, but the immediate fear of deportation has been removed. Velandia currently has no legal status in the US.

In April, Velandia told Out In Jersey, “We met four years ago in November 2006. We met in Princeton on campus. I live around the area, we kind of clicked and it was really great to meet Josh. That’s when I came out to my mom, the same day I met Josh.”

Velandia: “I came to this country and I found myself, who I am. It’s like the American dream.” The American Dream is coming to gay and lesbian binational couples. This ruling in Velandia’s and Vandiver’s case will help other couples fighting deportation due to DOMA.

Velandia and Vandiver Immigration problemVenezuelan native Henry Velandia no longer has to fear being separated from his husband in New Jersey, Josh Vandiver, due to the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA). Immigration & Customs Enforcement (ICE) has administratively closed the deportation proceedings against Velandia.