Thursday, May 05, 2011

BREAKING: Attorney General Holder Vacates Immigration Decision Based on DOMA

Via Metro Weekly Poliglot by Chris Geidner.

Attorney General Eric Holder today filed a very rare decision, vacating a decision by the Board of Immigration Appeals related to the application of Paul Wilson Dorman, in which the BIA applied Section 3 of the Defense of Marriage Act to his pending case.

Holder writes:
Pursuant to my authority set forth in 8 C.F.R. § 1003.1(h)(1)(i), I order that the decision of the Board of Immigration Appeals ("Board") in this case applying Section 3 of the Defense of Marriage Act ("DOMA"), 1 U.S.C. § 7, be vacated, and that this matter be referred to me for review.
Saying the attorney general "has taken [an] extraordinary step" with the decision, attorney Eric Berndt -- the supervising attorney for the National Asylum Partnership on Sexual Minorities at the National Immigrant Justice Center -- tells Metro Weekly, "It adds some heft to our requests for prosecutorial discretion in individual cases in which the foreign partner" of a same-sex bi-national couple is seeking a green card because of his or her citizen same-sex partner.

Attorney Lavi Soloway, a co-founder of Immigration Equality, has been one of the leading attorney-advocates on the issue of asking the government -- the Department of Justice, Department of Homeland Security and White House -- to exercise that discretion. Soloway tells Metro Weekly in an email, "This development could be a sign that the Obama administration is looking for a way to protect gay and lesbian bi-national couples who are currently barred from the regular marriage-based immigration process by the Defense of Marriage Act. (Read more)

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