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Supreme Court Ruling on Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) Should Give Equal Immigration Rights to Lawfully Married Same Sex Couples

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Washington, DC – The American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA) applauds the Supreme Court’s decision to strike down the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), finding it unconstitutional.

“Same sex bi-national couples have fought long and hard for the right to keep their families together. It’s only fair that if a U.S. citizen or permanent resident is legally married-regardless of sexual orientation-that their lawful marriage be recognized by the federal government when it comes to immigration issues,” said AILA President Laura Lichter.

She continued, “Because of DOMA, bi-national same sex couples often had to choose between staying together, but leaving the U.S., or splitting apart. Over 30 countries provide immigration benefits for same sex couples and we have seen firsthand the incredible toll of this unconstitutional discrimination. Any American would agree that being forced to choose between your homeland and your loved one is a heart-breaking choice.”

Ms. Lichter concluded, “Allowing our immigration system to recognize same sex bi-national couples will also make America more attractive to global talent. According to Immigration Equality, there are an estimated 36,000 same sex bi-national couples in the United States, and those families include 25,000 children. AILA believes that LGBT/same sex families should be included in the definition of the American family and that should be reflected in our immigration laws. I’m ecstatic that the Supreme Court’s ruling today should guarantee all lawfully married couples equal rights in regards to immigration.”

The American Immigration Lawyers Association is the national association of immigration lawyers established to promote justice, advocate for fair and reasonable immigration law and policy, advance the quality of immigration and nationality law and practice, and enhance the professional development of its members.

Reference: AILA InfoNet Doc. No. 13062641 (posted Jun. 26, 2013)

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