SC Decision Striking Down DOMA Creates a Green Card Path for Bi-National Same-Sex Spouses

In a historic decision today, the Supreme Court overturned the federal Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), which denied federal benefits to lawfully wedded same-sex couples. The court declined to rule on the merits of California’s Proposition 8 ban on gay marriage, but it effectively means that the federal district court’s ruling striking down Prop 8  stands, which could clear the way for same-sex marriage to resume in California. Collectively, the rulings represent a historic advance for gay marriage rights. 

More importantly, today’s landmark Supreme Court decision is incredibly promising from an immigration perspective as it will allow a U.S. citizen to sponsor a same-sex foreign national spouse for a green card. However, it is unclear when USCIS will begin processing immigration applications for same-sex couples. Certain administrative changes must be made before USCIS can accept applications from same-sex foreign national spouses. Until then, Loke Walsh Immigration Law recommends waiting until USCIS makes an announcement concerning the application process. Filing prematurely or seeking out the wrong help may delay or harm your chances of approval.

Stay tuned for further developments.

UPDATE 1: 

DHS Sec. Janet Napolitano issued a statement following the Supreme Court ruling:

"..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."

UPDATE 2:

USCIS Director Alejandro Mayorkas also announced at the annual American Immigration Lawyers Association conference in San Francisco that USCIS will start implementing the Supreme Court decision.

#immigrationupdates   #DOMA  

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