DHS Reconsiders Green Cards Denied To Same-Sex Couples

By Kate Sheehy
July 29, 2013

The Department of Homeland Security will take a second look at cases of United States citizens who were denied a green card for their same-sex spouse. The new guidelines were released Friday.

In June the U.S. Supreme Court struck down parts of the Defense of Marriage Act, making it possible for gay and lesbian couples to secure green cards. States determine whether or not to legalize gay marriage, but the federal government approves green cards. And in some cases, the federal government says it will still defer to state policy.

“If Immigration were to take the position that because Nevada does not allow gay marriage, we’re not going to allow green cards to be issued to residents of Nevada, the pushback on that is going to be intense,” said Peter Ashman, chair of the Nevada Chapter of the American Immigration Lawyer’s Association.

It is not clear in the agency’s rules when the federal government will consider state law. DHS has been keeping a list of denied applicants since 2011 when the Obama administration decided not to defend DOMA in court.