Christopher Bentley, the spokesman for the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, confirmed today that cases of foreign partners who are married to a same-sex partner and would otherwise be eligible for a green card are on hold in light of questions about the continued validity of the Defense of Marriage Act.
Bentley writes, “USCIS has issued guidance to the field asking that related cases be held in abeyance while awaiting final guidance related to distinct legal issues.”
The USCIS reached this decision in response to the administration’s Feb. 23 announcement that it no longer will defend Section 3 of DOMA in court. Were it not for Section 3 of DOMA, a U.S. citizen who is half of a same-sex bi-national married couple would be able to sponsor his or her non-citizen spouse for the purpose of obtaining a green card.
We’ll see where this goes. It’s clear the decision by the Obama Administration to not defend DOMA in court has had ripple effects since the announcement.