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June 2013

  A great decision for equality and justice With today's decision in U.S. v. Windsor, the Supreme Court confirmed what the majority of the world has known.  The Defense of Marriage Act served no purpose other than to discriminate.  The harm that it caused was very real and significant.  Among the thousands of benefits that same-sex spouses were denied was the right of a Lawful Permanent Resident or U.S. citizen to file a visa petition for their foreign-born spouse.  The result was simple: A straight spouse could stop his or her spouse from being deported where a gay spouse could not.  A

DOMA is Unconstitutional Initial reports say that the Defense of Marriage Act ("DOMA") has been ruled unconstitutional.  When we have a chance to read the entire decision, we will post more with respect to how this impacts same-sex petitions for immigration. Here's a quote: “The federal statute is invalid, for no legitimate purpose overcomes the purpose and effect to disparage and injure those whom the State, by its marriage laws, sought to protect in personhood and dignity. By seeking to displace this protection and treating those persons as living in marriages less respected than others.”

On June 17, 2013, the Department of Homeland Security announced that Syrian nationals can reapply for Temporary Protected Status ("TPS").  This means that individuals from Syria presently in the United States can apply for TPS, which will allow them to receive work authorization and remain in the U.S. until at least March 31, 2015.  This applies to both Syrians who previously registered for TPS and those who have not yet registered.  There are various requirements that must be met (notably, physical presence in the U.S. and no disqualifying criminal conviction).  TPS is often a "backup" status for individuals seeking asylum.