Deportation is a very serious threat that not only affects the person who may be forced out of the country, but friends and family members who depend on the person’s presence. Once someone is out of the country, their ability to appeal is incredibly difficult. Not only is there a physical barrier that must be overcome to handle the appeal, but there can be unfair biases at play when a deported individual tries to legally re-enter the United States.
Those who face the reality of deportation proceedings should speak with an immigration attorney as quickly as possible. There are myriad factors that complicate removal proceedings, including the ever-changing nature of immigration laws; let alone the interaction of immigration laws with other rules, laws and legal mandates. One such element that affects deportation proceedings is marriage, and a same-sex couple in California is filing a class action lawsuit that seems to be the first of its kind.
The married couple is composed of one U.S. citizen and one foreign-born citizen, and they tied the knot in 2008 while gay marriage was legal in California. They are challenging the Defense of Marriage Act (which effectively bans the federal government from recognizing gay marriage) and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security after the foreign-born spouse was denied a visa application and would be forced to leave.
The woman has been in a 20-year relationship with her significant other and she even brought her now-25-year-old son into the U.S. when he was just 9 years old. His legal status could be compromised as well if his mother is deported.
Crucial to the case is that many heterosexual couples that have one foreign-born spouse are often granted the visa application (or subsequent waiver). The couple has filed a class action suit specifically so other same-sex couples could apply for similar legal action.
Source: Reuters, “Immigrant files proposed class action suit over U.S. gay marriage ban,” Alex Dobuzinskis, July 13, 2012