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Gay relationships could be factor in US deportation cases
Policy is part of federal program designed to improve use of government resources on low-priority cases
Associated Press in San Francisco
guardian.co.uk, Friday 3 August 2012 18.43 EDT
US homeland security have reiterated that same-sex relationships may be a factor when deportation is being considered. Photograph: Jeff Gentner/AP
After pressure from lawmakers, US homeland security officials have reiterated that a foreigner’s longstanding same-sex relationship with a US citizen could help stave off the threat of deportation.
Homeland security spokeswoman Marsha Catron said on Friday that binational gay couples are eligible for consideration under a federal program designed to focus government resources away from low priority deportation cases.
But that does not mean the Obama administration will automatically shelve deportation cases or process green card applications involving foreign citizens married to same-sex American partners.
The statement, which builds on comments homeland security officials first made last summer, comes three days after 84 lawmakers demanded the agency put its position in writing to help protect same-sex couples from deportation.
Immigrant advocates welcomed the comments but said a formal policy is still needed.