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Friday, June 10, 2011

Bradford Wells, Gay San Franciscan, Fighting Against Husband's Deportation, Taken To Hospital

Posted By on Fri, Jun 10, 2011 at 12:44 PM

Anthony Makk, left, with husband Bradford Wells
  • Anthony Makk, left, with husband Bradford Wells

Update, 2:30 p.m.: Steve Ralls from Immigration Equality e-mailed SF Weekly to say that Bradford Wells did not have a heart attack.

"I just received an update, and Bradford is back

home from the hospital, and resting.  He did not have a heart attack, but has

been experiencing chest pains and shortness of breath throughout the week. Both,

apparently, intensified this afternoon, and he was taken to the hospital as a

precaution. 


"As you can imagine, it has been a very stressful and emotional

week for both Anthony and Bradford, and no doubt the obstacles they've faced in

their quest to remain together have added to Bradford's already fragile health

conditions."


Original post:

This week, San Franciscan Bradford Wells has been waging a last-minute effort to save his Australian husband, Anthony Makk, from having to leave the country on Monday. This morning, things got much worse.

"Bradford just had another heart attack and I'm on the way to the emergency room, and I really do have to go," Makk said when we called him this morning to interview him about his immigration case. Steve Ralls, a spokesman for Immigration Equality, a nonprofit that is advising the couple in their immigration case, has not confirmed the heart attack.

"My understanding is he was at the bank to pick up some documents, and they informed Anthony they called an ambulance to take him to the hospital," he says. "They are under an incredible amount of stress at the moment." 

Makk, an Australian national, and Bradford Wells have lived together

for 19 years in a Castro apartment, and married seven years ago in

Massachusetts. Makk faces having to leave the country on Monday when his

current stay expires. The couple plans to file

Monday for a last-minute spouse visa and is asking California senators

Dianne Feinstein and Barbara Boxer as well as Congresswoman Nancy Pelosi to

intervene to save Makk from having to leave. Wells is HIV-positive and recently had suffered a heart attack; Makk is his primary caretaker.



"Our request is [that immigration authorities] exercise discretion

in this

case, because of the hardship that anyone's removal would mean for

Bradford, as clearly evidenced by today's events," Ralls says.

Because the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA)  recognizes only heterosexual

couples for federal purposes, gay Americans cannot sponsor their foreign

spouses for visas as heterosexual Americans can.  We wrote a cover story last year

about other San Francisco gay couples in which the foreign spouse lives

here illegally, or the two are planning to move to Canada to be

together.

The Obama administration announced

earlier this year that DOMA was unconstitutional and that it would not defend

the law in court. Gay couples have filed legal challenges for spouse visas, and federal lawmakers reintroduced a bill

known as the Uniting American Families Act that would allow "permanent partners" to sponsor each other for visas.

Legislators also asked the Department of Homeland Security to halt the

deportation of such couples until the law could be voted on or courts

could rule on the legal challenges.

Ralls says that Makk's petition should be held in abeyance until DOMA or the

Uniting American Families Act is settled. "It doesn't make sense to

use an unconstitutional law to separate couples that cotherwise would

have

oporutnity to stay together."

According to news reports,

Makk had a special trader's visa for importing glass, but more

recently has taken to exiting and re-entering the country since

Australians can travel to the United States for 90 days without a visa

under the Visa Waiver Program.

But at his last entrance, immigration authorities informed him this

would be his last time to do so. His current

stay expires on Monday.

"We believe there's a good chance that either Pelosi or one of

the senators will follow the filing by asking DHS not to deny those

applications," says Ralls. "That's where their hope lies now."

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Lauren Smiley

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