House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi and more than 80 of her House colleagues today pushed the Obama administration to put in writing a policy that would help to protect same-sex couples in which one partner is a foreign citizen from being separated because current U.S. law doesn't recognize their relationship.
The request, the House's second attempt to move the Obama Administration on the issue, comes after the administration appeared to backtrack this past year on a commitment to include such a policy in its effort to focus the Department of Homeland Security's resources on high-priority immigration cases.
The administration announced in August 2011 that its focus on the "highest priorities" for immigration enforcement would mean that same-sex couples will be considered a family for the purposes of exercising prosecutorial discretion not to institute deportation proceedings against a foreign partner. Advocates celebrated the move, particularly because many of the foreign partners would otherwise be eligible for a green card because of his or her relationship were it not for the Defense of Marriage Act's ban on the federal government recognizing such marriages.
Two months later, however, and as today's letter pointed out, a response from DHS to members of Congress asking about the specifics of the new policy stated only that "LGBT individuals’ ties and contributions to the community are taken into account" — with no mention of the family ties that officials had said would be included in the considerations.
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