Andre Olivie is a member of the Washington State LGBT Lawyers Association known as Q-Law and was the former Vice-President of the Seattle University School of Law LGBT Student Organization known as OUTLAWS. He is pleased to work with the LGBT community in their immigration needs and has provided information below on LGBT immigration issues and news.
Same-Sex Couples and Immigration
Attorney Andre Olivie, works to help immigrants who are gay, lesbian, bisexual, or transgendered obtain residency in the U.S. Currently, U.S. Immigration law does not allow U.S. Citizens nor Lawful Permanent Residents to petition for same-sex spouses or domestic partners even in states where same-sex marriage is legal. This is very unfortunate and there are many good people working to change this. If you are a U.S. Citizen who believes that same-sex couples should be granted the same immigration benefits as opposite-sex couples please contact your U.S. Representatives to express support for a change in the law such as support for the Uniting American Families Act.
Because of the complexity and sometimes strange nature of U.S. immigration law, in some cases, if the state where a transgendered individual provides that individual with official documents that their sex has been changed and is now the opposite of their spouse, they will be able to obtain immigration benefits based on an opposite-sex marriage.
In the mean time, immigration lawyers must find creative ways to help their gay and lesbian clients to stay in the country. This often comes through extended student visas, work visas and employment-based greencards. If you are in a same-sex relationship and wish for your partner to remain lawfully in the U.S., speak with an immigration attorney who can best evaluate your partner’s eligibility for different visas.
Gay Asylum and Witholding of Removal
Immigration Attorney, Andre Olivie, helps gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgendered individuals who have been harmed or have a well-founded fear that they will be harmed or killed in their home countries because of their sexual-orientation or gender identity. In order to obtain LGBT asylum in the U.S. and individual must apply within one year of entry or show that changed conditions (such as coming out within the last year or new anti-gay laws in the home country within the last year). They must prove to the U.S. government that they have been harmed OR will be harmed or killed by their government OR people the government was unwilling OR unable to control because they are gay, lesbian or transgendered. Asylum can be applied for at any time. A grant of asylum allows the person to apply for a Greencard (Lawful Permanent Residence) after one year and thus a pathway to U.S. Citizenship.
For those gay asylum seekers who do not meet the one year bar because they have been in the U.S. for over a year and there are no changes in the country conditions, they may still be eligible for Withholding of Removal. Withholding of Removal can only be applied for if the individual is already in removal (deportation) proceedings and essentially, stops the person from being removed and allows them to live in the U.S. and provides them with a work permit. Unfortunately it is sometimes a bittersweet relief as there is no pathway to a greencard or U.S. Citizenship and the individual will not be allowed to return if they exit the U.S.
Attorney, Andre Olivie, has successful experience working with LGBT clients. Contact Andre to schedule a consultation by email or phone. Information about your sexual orientation will be kept confidential.
Gay Immigration News Articles and Videos
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- Non Citizens Sue Over U.S. Gay Marriage Ban
- Immigration Marriage Laws Leave Same-Sex Couples in Limbo
- Growing number of gays receiving asylum.
- Gay Russians find asylum in New York
- Gay Undocumented and Married Man in California Fights Deportation -CNN