Immigration Implications of the DOMA Ruling

Late last month, the United States Supreme Court decided United States v. Windsor, a case challenging the constitutionality of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA). The provision of DOMA that was at issue defined marriage as the union between one man and one woman, essentially prohibiting the federal government from recognizing same-sex marriages. The Court struck the law down on Constitutional grounds, paving the way for same-sex couples to be eligible for federal benefits, provided that they are legally married in a jurisdiction that recognizes same-sex marriage.  While the case before the Court had to do with federal estate taxation, one consequence of the ruling is that the federal government will now recognize same-sex spouses as such for the purposes of immigration law.

United States immigration law makes it relatively easy for immediate family members of citizens to obtain permanent resident status, known informally as a “green card.” The DOMA decision effectively removes all barriers for married same-sex couples of different nationalities to obtain green cards for one another the way opposite-sex couples can. According to a report in the New York Times, Janet Napolitano, secretary of the Department of Homeland Security, stated that federal agencies will “implement today’s decision so that all married couples will be treated equally and fairly in the administration of our immigration laws.”

The implications of the ruling will be far-reaching, affecting many facets of life for same-sex couples, including tax benefits, medical decision making powers, eligibility for federal benefits, family-law protections, and others.

Contact Immigration Attorney Shannon Blanchard Today for a Consultation

If you are a same-sex spouse and are interested in learning more about how the DOMA decision affects your immigration rights, contact the Law Office of Shannon Blanchard today for a free consultation. Ms. Blanchard is an experienced immigration advocate, and works hard to get the best possible legal result for each client she represents. Some of the types of matters Ms. Blanchard handles include:

To schedule a consultation with Ms. Blanchard, contact our office today at (858) 480-1077. To reach us via email, please fill out the contact form on the right side of this page.

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