Immigration Law

In Defense of (Same-Sex) Marriage – How DOMA Separates Binational Families and Why it Must be Abolished


"Unless and until DOMA is struck down, repealed or other changes to the law occur, U.S. immigration officials will not approve a marriage-based immigrant petition filed for a same-sex spouse.  The good news is that are many pending challenges to DOMA, both in court and in Congress.  A federal court challenge to DOMA in the immigration context here in California has not yet been successful due mostly to Ninth Circuit precedent, i.e. Adams v. Howerton, 673 F.2d 1036 (9th Cir. 1982).  It is  widely debated whether a constitutional challenge to DOMA in the immigration context could even prevail.  Either way, as long as DOMA remains law, married same-sex binational couples and their families who want to lawfully stay together in the U.S. need to plan very carefully so as to avoid the unnecessary risks of, and consequences associated with, being denied a visa, being denied entry into the U.S., or being subject to apprehension and/or deportation by U.S. immigration officials.  It is time for our great nation to move forward with this basic human rights issue and end DOMA once and for all." - Joseph J. Shepherd, Jan. 5, 2012.