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Change in immigration policy could benefit same-sex binational couples

Monday, August 22, 2011
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The Obama Administration has announced it plans to implement changes in U.S. immigration policy, the result of which could benefit bi-national same-sex couples.

Though no specific mention of gay and lesbian couples were made in the announcement, the Obama Administration said Thursday it planned to review each of the 300,000 deportation cases it has scheduled, and plans to not deport “low threat” cases.

Sources have quietly acknowledged that “low threat” cases includes same-sex couples:

Under the new guidance, immigration authorities within the Obama administration will conduct a case-by-case review of the approximately 300,000 undocumented immigrants facing possible deportation to determine which cases are high priority and low priority. Those who have been convicted of crimes or pose a security risk will be a higher priority for deportation, while those who are deemed lower priority will be taken out of the pipeline.

Administration officials will weigh a person’s ties and contributions to the community and family relationships. During an on background conference call with media outlets on Thursday, a senior administration official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said these criteria are inclusive of LGBT families and same-sex couples.

“The prosecutorial discretion memo provides for the use of discretion for people with strong community ties, with community contributions and with family relationships,” the official said. “We consider LGBT families to be families in this context.”

Think Progress reported that the new process is a result of a long-standing administration policy to ensure that the nation is “not clogging the system with folks who are not maximum priorities,” according to a senior administration official.

Lower-priority deportation cases “are being set aside so we can focus more on our more serious cases of convicted criminals and other high priority categories.”

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