DHS Working on DOMA Ruling for the Benefit of Immigrants

On June 26, 2013, the United States Supreme Court overturned a provision of the DOMA (Defense of Marriage Act) which defined marriage as a union between one man and one woman. The recent decision will undoubtedly affect many same sex couples in many areas of law and life.

One group that will benefit from the new decision will be same sex immigrants. For years same sex couples suffered from being separated from their loved ones because same sex marriage was not recognized by the federal government and many people were unable to petition and sponsor legalization of their partners.

Today with the ruling by the Supreme Court, citizens and lawful permanent residents will be able to petition to legalize their immigrant same sex partners.

This discriminatory law denied thousands of legally married same-sex couples many important federal benefits, including immigration benefits,

Napolitano said in a statement.

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,” she added.

In a statement earlier Wednesday, President Obama said he was directing his Cabinet

to review all relevant federal

The Current Immigration Program of the Obama Administration

Back in May 10, 2011, in a speech in El Paso, Texas, a stone’s throw from the US-Mexico border, President Barack Obama outlined the government’s policy on immigration reform. The program is summarized in a four-point program designed to overhaul and resolve the issues of current immigration laws.

According to the President, the question as to those who walked away from enforcing immigration laws are now ready to complete the task at hand, regardless of political alliances. While all across America, coalitions of leaders who have differed in many other issues are coming together to fix a broken immigration system not just for their businesses but also for their communities.

He said, “American ingenuity is a product of openness and diversity of this society. Immigrants have made America great as the world leader in business, in science, higher education and innovation.” He was quoting Rupert Murdoch, CEO of Fox News, an individual known to be a staunch critic of Barack Obama.
President Obama then outlines his program to fix the current US immigration system, which are as follows:

  1. First, the government has a threshold responsibility to secure our borders and enforce the law. Mr. Obama then relates that this is what ‘Janet and all her folks are doing.” Janet refers to Department of Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano.
  2. Second, businesses need to be held accountable for their use and exploitation of undocumented workers.
  3. Third, illegal immigrants also have a responsibility to recognize they had violated the law. As such, they need to pay their taxes, pay a fine, learn English, undergo background checks as well as fall in line for legalization.
  4. Fourth, stemming the tide of illegal immigration also involves reformation of the system of legal immigration. Changes that need to be done include making it easier for the best and the brightest to stay in the United States. There should also be incentives to those that start businesses and create jobs for the country.

Aside from these general principles, President Obama further said, “Today, the immigration system not only tolerates those who break the rules, but it punishes folks who follow the rules. While applications – while applicants wait for approval, for example, they’re often forbidden from visiting the United States. Even husbands and wives may have to spend years apart. Parents can’t see their children. I don’t believe the United States of America should be in the business of separating families. That’s not right. That’s not who we are. We can do better than that.”

Obama has also declared that there is a need to stop punishing young people for the actions of their parents. This refers to children brought into the United States when their parents did not have the proper documentation to remain in the country. His program for this is the DREAM Act, which provides educational benefits and military service options for those children of illegal immigrants. While the DREAM Act remains a dream, it is the step in the right direction for immigration reform in the United States.