AG Holder uses discretion to vacate deportation of binational spouse

Major development for binational, married couples. Chris Geidner at Metro Weekly broke the news:

Attorney General Eric Holder today filed a very rare decision, vacating a decision by the Board of Immigration Appeals related to the application of Paul Wilson Dorman, in which the BIA applied Section 3 of the Defense of Marriage Act to a pending case.

So, the Obama administration does have discretion (when they want to use it.)

The big question is what are the ramifications for other binational couples. It appears this could be significant. Kerry Eleveld just forwarded me an email she got from Lavi Soloway, the lawyer who writes at the blog, Stop the Deportations. Lavi wrote:

In a cancellation of removal case involving a same-sex couple in New Jersey, the Attorney General of the United States has vacated a decision by the Board of Immigration Appeals and remanded the case for a new ruling. Specifically, the AG has asked the BIA to rule on whether a same-sex partner could qualify as a spouse under the Immigration and Nationality Act.

“This development could be a sign that the Obama administration is looking for a way to protect gay and lesbian bi-national couples who are currently barred from the regular marriage-based immigration process by the Defense of Marriage Act,” said Lavi Soloway, co-founder of Stop the Deportations and Immigration Equality. “This is precisely why we must continue to advocate for the executive branch to implement administrative remedies to keep couples from being torn apart, remedies which include instituting a moratorium on deportations. The heart-breaking stories of couples facing deportation have raised the profile of this issue, but we must keep the pressure on. Tomorrow, another New Jersey couple faces an Immigration Judge at a final deportation hearing in Newark. We will ask the Immigration Judge to adjourn proceedings in light of today’s action by the Attorney General.”

So, this could be very significant for Henry Velandia who is facing deportation tomorrow.

And, by the way, pressure works. It’s the only thing that works.


On October 27, 2010, Joe was one of five bloggers who interviewed President Obama. Joe is a DC-based political consultant with over twenty-five years of experience at both the state and federal level. Joe has managed political operations and legislative efforts for both candidates and issues-based organizations. For seven years, he was the Director of State Legislation at Handgun Control, Inc. He served as that organization's first Political Director during the 2000 cycle. Joe is a graduate of the University of Maine School of Law. In addition, he has a Masters in Public Administration from Lehigh University and received his B.A. from the University of New Hampshire. Joe also has a fun dog, Petey, a worthy successor to Boomer, who got Joe through eight years of Bush and Cheney. Joe likes to think he is a world class athlete having finished the 2005 Chicago Marathon in the time of 4:10. He has completed six other marathons as well -- and is still determined to break the four hour mark.

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