News / USA

US Immigration Service Ordered to Consider Same-Sex Visa Petitions

Gay rights advocate Vin Testa waves a rainbow flag in front of the Supreme Court at sun up in Washington, June 26, 2013.
Gay rights advocate Vin Testa waves a rainbow flag in front of the Supreme Court at sun up in Washington, June 26, 2013.
It’s official. U.S. citizens and lawful permanent residents in a same-sex marriage to a foreign national can now sponsor their spouse for a family-based immigrant visa, according to a directive issued by U.S. Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano on Monday.

The move follows last week’s Supreme Court decision ruling that Section 3 of the Defense of Marriage Act, defining marriage between a man and a woman, as unconstitutional. U.S. President Barack Obama has directed federal departments to swiftly and smoothly ensure the court decision and its implication for federal benefits.

“To that end, I have directed U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) to review immigration visa petitions filed on behalf of a same-sex spouse in the same manner as those filed on behalf of an opposite-sex spouse,” Napolitano said in a statement.

For more immigration resources, visit Immigration: The New Face of America

According to the new procedures, USCIS will look to the law of the place where the marriage took place in determining its validity for immigration law. That means if a couple was married in a U.S. state that recognizes same-sex marriage, but lives in a state that does not, the couple’s petition for an immigration visa will still be considered. Thirteen states and Washington, DC have legalized same-sex marriage.

There are nearly 30,000 binational same-sex couples in which one partner is a U.S. citizen and one is not, according to estimates based on U.S. Census Bureau data. Until now, those couples were not eligible for family-based immigrant visas, forcing many to choose between love and country.

A landmark immigration reform bill passed by the Senate almost stalled out because of a proposal to allow U.S. citizens and legal permanent residents to sponsor their same-sex spouse for immigration. Democratic Senator Patrick Leahy withdrew the amendment after opponents threatened to kill the entire bill. The Supreme Court decision accomplished what Leahy was hoping to do.

You May Like

Video Miami Cubans Divided on New US Policy

While older, more conservative Cuban Americans have promoted anti-Castro political movement for years, younger generations say economically, it is time for change More

2014 Sees Dramatic Uptick in Boko Haram Abductions

Militants suspected in latest mass kidnapping of over 100 people in Gumsuri, Nigeria on Sunday More

Video Cuba Deal Is Major Victory for Pope

Role of Francis hailed throughout US, Latin America - though some Cuban-American Catholics have mixed feelings More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Sudan School Becomes Target of Aerial Attacksi
X
December 19, 2014 12:45 AM
The school dropout rate is at an all-time high in Sudan's South Kordofan state because many schools have been destroyed during the three-year civil war between the government and SPLA-N rebel forces. Adam Bailes visited Sudan's Nuba Mountains' region and reports many children are simply too scared to go to school
Video

Video Sudan School Becomes Target of Aerial Attacks

The school dropout rate is at an all-time high in Sudan's South Kordofan state because many schools have been destroyed during the three-year civil war between the government and SPLA-N rebel forces. Adam Bailes visited Sudan's Nuba Mountains' region and reports many children are simply too scared to go to school
Video

Video VOA Reporter Tours Devastated Peshawar School

Islamist militants wearing military uniforms and strapped with explosives attacked a military run school Tuesday in the northwestern Pakistani city of Peshawar. At least 141 people were killed in the horrific attack, most of them young students. VOA reporter Ayaz Gul visited the devastated school and attended the funeral of the principal who courageously tried to save her students from the deadly attack.
Video

Video Nigerians Fleeing Boko Haram Languish in Camp Near Capital

In its five-year effort to impose Islamic law in northeastern Nigeria, the Boko Haram extremist group has killed thousands of people and forced hundreds of thousands to flee. Some of those who ran for their lives now live in squalor on the edges of the capital, Abuja. Chris Stein reports for VOA.
Video

Video Putin Says Russian Economy Will Emerge Stronger

Russian President Vladimir Putin has said his country's sinking economy will not only recover but also become stronger, despite falling oil prices and Western sanctions over Ukraine. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports.
Video

Video Detained Turkish Journalists Follow Teachings of US-Based Preacher

The Turkish government’s jailing of critical journalists has sparked international condemnation and is being seen as an effort to undermine the followers of an ailing Turkish preacher based in the United States. VOA religion reporter Jerome Socolovsky has more.
Video

Video ‘Anti-Islamization’ Marches Increase Tensions In Germany

Anti-immigrant rallies in Germany have been building in recent weeks, peaking Monday night in the city of Dresden where tens of thousands of people turned out to demonstrate against what they call the ‘Islamization’ of the West. Germany has offered asylum to more Syrian refugees than any other country, and this appears to have set off the protests. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Aceh Rebuilt Decade After Tsunami, But Scars Remain

On December 26, 2004 there was an earthquake in the Indian Ocean so powerful it caused the Earth’s axis to wobble a few centimeters. Onshore on the island of Sumatra, the resulting tsunami was devastating. A decade later, VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Banda Aceh, Indonesia, where although there is little remaining evidence of the physical devastation, the psychological scars among survivors remain.
Video

Video Refugees Living in Kenya Long for Peace in the Home Countries

Kenya is host to numerous refugees seeking safe haven from conflict. Immigrants from Somalia face challenges in their new lives in Kenya. Ahead of International Migrants Day (December 18) Lenny Ruvaga has more for VOA News from the Kenyan capital.

All About America

AppleAndroid