Lesbian couple Becky and Sanne won same-sex immigration rights on August 5 after an interview with the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services in Charlotte, N.C., according to The DOMA Project. The couple was married in the Netherlands and received the same treatment as any other applying for a green card.
The couple and their daughter Willow live in Asheville, N.C., The DOMA Project reported. After they were married in 2012, they applied for a green card. However, because the U.S. did not yet recognized valid same-sex marriages, their case was denied.
Immigration Policy Changes
Married couples applying for green cards will get special consideration over others who are applying for immigration rights in the U.S., same-sex couples included, according to ABC News.
There are an estimated 28,000 binational same-sex couples living in the U.S. so the policy change will affect a significant number of people as well as future gay and lesbian couples splitting time between countries.
The source said there are three ways in which policy for same-sex immigration rights can change without Congressional intervention. The first is through the courts. According to ABC, same-sex marriages will now be recognized by the federal government as long as they were performed in a state that recognizes them.
Second, local government policies will have an effect on same-sex immigration, ABC reported. In Seattle, those who were permitted to remain in the U.S. under deportation relief are now allowed to put their names on utility bills, something that was not allowed before.
The president can also use his executive powers to bring immigration to the top of the priority list. According to the source, the Obama administration asked federal immigration officers to go after criminal defenders before anyone else.