Tuesday, September 23, 2014
YOLO COUNTY NEWS
99 CENTS

Immigration benefits in a post-DOMA era

By
From page A10 | August 04, 2013 |

By Tulin Gurer and Raphael Moore

In its June “Windsor” decision, the U.S. Supreme Court held that wording in the Defense of Marriage Act was unconstitutional. That wording was, among other things, the primary barrier that same-sex couples faced when trying to obtain many types of immigration benefits.

Last week, the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services issued a directive to immediately start accepting immigration petitions filed by U.S. citizens on behalf of their noncitizen same-sex spouses. It has also created procedures for reopening visa petitions that previously were denied on the basis of DOMA, and began providing other immigration benefits to same-sex couples.

So how does this affect benefits? Here are a few examples:

* A U.S. citizen can now file a spousal petition on behalf of her same-sex foreign spouse, ultimately resulting in a green card for the spouse;

* A student in the U.S. on a student visa can have his same-sex spouse accompany him during his studies as a derivative beneficiary of a nonimmigrant visa;

* A U.S. citizen intending to marry a same-sex partner can petition to bring that partner to the United States with a fiancé/é petition;

* A high-tech worker coming on an H1B visa can have her same-sex spouse join her during her three-year permitted stay as a nonimmigrant; and

* A U.S. citizen or a lawful permanent resident can now petition for the biological children of her same-sex spouse as step-children.

The benefits afforded to same-sex couples are no different than those available to different-sex couples, and still must hinge on proof of a valid marriage. U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services applies the “place of celebration rule,” which means that as long as a couple is lawfully married under the rules of the place of marriage, the marriage will be deemed valid regardless of where the couple may reside and whether or not their home state recognizes same-sex marriages.

Equally so, just as the agency keeps an eye out for sham marriages with different-sex couples, it will do so with same-sex marriages. Proof that a marriage is real can typically be done by showing joint bank accounts, wedding albums, co-signed leases, jointly filed tax returns, etc. This may, however, pose a unique problem for same-sex couples who for reasons related to their families, communities or countries of origin, may have kept the fact of their marriage a secret.

Although U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services has taken quick steps to implement the Windsor decision, it is likely that unique issues will arise in the coming months. For instance, it is unclear how the agency will treat couples in civil unions or other nonmarital recognized relationships.

Ultimately, it will be up to those seeking benefits to help educate the agency’s adjudicators about changes in the law and unique factual circumstances encountered. Prior to seeking benefits, you should carefully weigh your own circumstances, and research the law or speak with a trusted attorney.

— Raphael Moore practices law in downtown Davis. Tulin Gurer is entering her final year at the UC Davis School of Law. They may be reached at thelaw@mytrustedlawyer.com

Comments

comments

Special to The Enterprise

  • Recent Posts

  • Enter your email address to subscribe to this newspaper and receive notifications of new articles by email.

  • .

    News

    UC joins U.N.-supported Principles for Responsible Investment

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A1

     
    Nature’s beauty is in our own back yard

    By Charlotte Orr | From Page: A1 | Gallery

    Jury finds Dixon man guilty of mortgage fraud

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A1

     
     
    U.S., Arab allies hit Islamists in Syria, Iraq

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A2 | Gallery

    Bob Dunning: These are the tanks we get

    By Bob Dunning | From Page: A2 | Gallery

     
    Wind threatens firefighting effort

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

    Harmony Award nominations sought

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

     
    Sheriff’s Office honored for safe-driving initiative

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A4

    Baha’is celebrate 50th anniversary in Davis

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A4

     
    Downtown gift cards get a new perk

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

    Unscheduled landing

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4 | Gallery

     
    Free community yard sale Saturday

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

    Street Food Rodeo rolls into West Davis

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

     
    Wolk kicks off ‘Morning with the Mayor’

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

    So you want to be an entomologist?

    By Kathy Keatley Garvey | From Page: A4

     
    Pets of the week

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A5 | Gallery

     
    Forum will answer questions about new license law

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A5

    Applications open for Biberstein grants

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A10

     
    .

    Forum

    Daughter has her own opinions

    By Creators Syndicate | From Page: B5

     
    Brother’s drinking out of control

    By Creators Syndicate | From Page: B5

    We must not stand for perpetual war

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A6

     
    Don’t cut all the trees

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A6

    A great Day in the Country

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A6

     
    Donors support school matinees

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A6

    A big Explorit thanks!

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A6

     
    Teacher tenure becomes key campaign issue

    By Tom Elias | From Page: A6

    Tom Meyer cartoon

    By Debbie Davis | From Page: A6

     
    .

    Sports

    Devil golfers soar past Sheldon

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: B1

     
    Blue Devils bounce back against Pleasant Grove

    By Evan Ream | From Page: B1 | Gallery

    Running game powered Devils in first football win

    By Thomas Oide | From Page: B1 | Gallery

     
    Davis field hockey team rights ship at Lassen

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: B1

    UCD roundup: Aggie women reach finals of East/West golf tourney

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: B2Comments are off for this post | Gallery

     
    U11s get a win in an eventful weekend of youth football

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: B3 | Gallery

    A’s support Samardzija in a win over Angels

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B8

     
    .

    Features

    .

    Business

    .

    Obituaries

    Carol L. Walsh

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A4

     
    .

    Comics

    Comics: Tuesday, September 23, 2014 (set 1)

    By Creator | From Page: B5

     
    Comics: Tuesday, September 23, 2014 (set 2)

    By Creator | From Page: B7