IPBA Legal News Brief
On June 26th, the U.S. Supreme Court reached a decision in the case of Windsor v. United States, effectively striking down §3 of the 1996 Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) which denied federal benefits to same-sex couples who are legally married in the states in which they reside. President Obama has instructed all federal agencies to adapt their policies accordingly to reflect the outcome of the DOMA decision and ensure the provision of federal benefits to all same-sex couples in the U.S. Included in these federal benefits is the right to equal treatment as couples in immigration proceedings. On July 1st, Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano announced that the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services would begin considering visa petitions for same-sex spouses in the same manner as petitions for opposite-sex spouses. The following month Secretary of State John Kerry indicated in his remarks at the U.S. Embassy in London that the Department of State will honor the same policy in reviewing visa applications. Many stand to benefit from the DOMA decision, including the international employees and students of corporate, academic and research establishments in the U.S. – these individuals that apply for work or student visas can now file petitions to bring their same-sex spouses with them.
About Joseph E. Ching:
Joseph E. Ching heads an international practice in New Orleans, Louisiana and San Diego, California focusing in immigration and international business transactions. He has been a member of the NAPABA for over ten years and has been a panelist of small/solo firm practice and Immigration committees.