Immigration Benefits for Same Sex Marriage: Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano on the Defense of Marriage Act
“I applaud today’s Supreme Court decision in United States v. Windsor holding that the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) is unconstitutional. This discriminatory law denied thousands of legally married same-sex couples many important federal benefits, including immigration benefits. I am pleased the Court agreed with the Administration’s position that DOMA’s restrictions violate the Constitution. Working with our federal partners, including the Department of Justice, we will implement today's decision so that all married couples will be treated equally and fairly in the administration of our immigration laws."
Under immigration law, a United States citizen with a foreign spouse has the right to petition for his or her spouse to obtain legal immigration status in the United States. The US citizen may start the process by completing an I-130 petition. Or if the non-citizen is in the United States and entered legally, the couple may be able to submit the I-485 application for permanent residence concurrently with the I-130. As with all married couple, USCIS will require proof that a bona fide marriage exists, ie that the marriage was not created for purposes of obtaining a green card, but to establish a life together. For advice and assistance, contact Saltrese Faville DeSeguin llc for a consultation to determine whether there are any impediments (due to adverse immigration factors or a criminal record, for example) to the non-citizen spouse obtaining legal immigration status. .