Green Card Application is Last Hope For Gay Couples Facing Deportation

Although for years immigration attorneys have warned gay couples against applying for a green card for their foreign-born spouses, many are now rethinking that advice, according to The Associated Press.

Gay couples in the US face particular challenges when one person is an illegal immigrant. While same-sex marriage is now legal in a handful of states it is still not recognized by the federal government, making it impossible for illegal aliens in those relationships to receive a green card through that traditional route.

Since the federal government announced it will no longer defend the Defense Against Marriage Act, which specifically defines marriage as union between a man and a woman, some immigration advocates say that applying for a green card may now be the best bet for gay couples fighting deportation, reported the news source. While immigration activists say the move is risky, advocates say same-sex couples who are facing deportation have little to lose by applying.

“We are advising more people to do it …at this point there is more of a feeling that the tide is turning on marriage in this country and it could be something that could be helpful,” Victoria Neilson, the legal director if Immigration Equality, told the news agency.

About 3.5 percent of adults in the US identify themselves as either gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender, according to a recent University of California, Los Angeles study.