Károly Makk
2 min

Obama to stop deportations of same-sex couples?

BY NOREEN FAGAN – Deporting gays seems to be the new “in”
thing for immigration officials in the United States and England.

The latter’s latest attempt to deport Robert Segwanyi ended
in a last-minute reprieve. One hour before Segwanyi’s flight was due to leave, the
Home Office informed his lawyer that his deportation had been deferred.

Segwanyi had
some high-profile supporters behind him, including a local and Ugandan Anglican
Bishop. He also had thousands of anonymous supporters who signed a petition to prevent his being sent back to Uganda.

While the UK
loves to deport gays back to countries where they are likely to be persecuted,
the US has a perverse immigration system designed to separate loving couples.

American
Bradford Wells and his Australian boyfriend, Anthony John Makk, have lived
together for 19 years in San Francisco. Seven years ago the couple were married
in Massachusetts and Makk applied for citizenship.
The US
Citizenship and Immigration Services denied Makk’s application, citing the 1996
law that denies all federal benefits to same-sex couples.
The decision
was issued July 26 and Makk was ordered to depart the United States by Aug 25.

An article in The
Advocate

reported that the White House announced it will review many of the 300,000 cases
already in the system and drop any it deems a “low
priority,” including spouses in binational same-sex couples.

Cecilia Munoz, the administration’s director of intergovernmental affairs said in a statement that they have “developed a
strategy to make sure we use those resources in a way that puts public safety
and national security first… It makes no sense to spend our enforcement
resources on these low-priority cases when they could be used with more impact
on others, including individuals who have been convicted of serious crimes.”

Munoz also said
that officials will be applying “common sense guidelines” to make decisions,
including considering family relationships. She said that until Congress amended the
immigration law, following these guidelines and prioritizing deportations
was the smartest way to go.

It’s
potentially good news for couples left in the US but not so great for couples
like Wells and Makk, whose fate has already been decided.

For other
couples still waiting, we can only hope that it is not a
rightwing Christian fundamentalist who looks at their file because we all know
they have little common sense.

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