4 Steps the U.S. Government has Taken to Implement Post DOMA Immigration Policies

Following the SCOTUS DOMA ruling and prior to her resignation, Homeland Security Secretary, Janet Napolitano made the following statement:

“After last week’s decision by the Supreme Court holding that Section 3 of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) is unconstitutional, President Obama directed federal departments to ensure the decision and its implication for federal benefits for same-sex legally married couples are implemented swiftly and smoothly. To that end, effective immediately, 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.”

Director of USCIS Speaks about Same-sex Marriage Green Cards

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services director, Alejandro Mayorkas discussed same-sex bi-national marriages at the American Immigration Lawyers Association annual conference in San Francisco. Director Mayorkas stated that USCIS has kept records of all immigrant petitions that were denied because of DOMA and that the cases could be reopened and gay spouses of U.S. Citizens could be granted green cards.

USCIS approves first Green Card application for same-sex spouse of a U.S. Citizen

Traian Popov, a Bulgarian married to a U.S. Citizen, has become the first same-sex spouse to be approved for a permanent resident visa. Mr. Popov, 41, said he had been living legally in the United States for 15 years with a series of student visas. USCIS made their decision on Friday June 28th only a few days after DOMA was struck down as unconstitutional.

Board of Immigration Appeals Recognizes Same-sex Marriages for Immigration Purposes

The BIA issued its first decision in which it supported a same-sex marriage for immigration purposes. On July 17th, 2013, in its decision In Matter of Oleg B. ZELENIAK, the BIA stated, “The Supreme Court’s ruling in Windsor has therefore removed section 3 of the DOMA as an impediment to the recognition of lawful same-sex marriages and spouses if the marriage is valid under the laws of the State where it was celebrated.”