Two years ago, SF Weekly highlighted the sad story of gay immigrants who were being forced to choose between love and leaving the U.S.
But it appears that conundrum is no more. According to Washington reports, Department of Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano has decided that gay and lesbian partners will be deemed "family members" when immigration agents consider deportation.
Essentially, that means gay immigrants with American partners won't be automatically deported, just as heterosexual couples are spared.
In a letter to Congresswoman Nancy Pelosi, Napolitano said
In an effort to make clear the definition of the phrase "family relationships," I have directed ICE to disseminate written guidance to the field that the interpretation of the phrase "family relationships" includes long-term, same-sex partners.
Pelosi has led the fight to undo this politically charged immigration issue that's torn too many gay couples apart. Of course, this new directive says much about Obama's intentions on immigration. The president has made it clear he would like to focus on deporting immigrants who have a long criminal history in the United States.
In trying to parse out the immigration issue, the president crafted policy that would push ICE agents to look for extenuating circumstances that might make immigrants less likely candidates for deportation. One of those circumstances included separation from family.
And now, same-sex couples are considered family.
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