Immigration and Pride Month

June is Pride Month, which is a month used to celebrate and pay tribute to those were involved in the Stonewall Riots in 1969 in New York. A riot ensued after police raided a LGBTQ club and broke it apart. Over the years, it has been recognized formally by our presidents, and many celebrate with parades, parties, and waving their rainbow flags.

Although not all Americans may agree with all the ideals of the LGBTQ community, federal law does, at least in regards to marriage.  In 2013, in a seminal case, the U.S. Supreme Court held that same-sex marriage is constitutional, legalizing same-sex marriage throughout all the United States of America.  The case was a significant victory for the LGBTQ community and thousands of couples went to local government offices to register their marriages.  Consistent with this case, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services announced that they would review immigration visa petitions filed on behalf of a same-sex spouse in the same manner as those filed for an opposite-sex spouse.

From an immigration perspective, the legalization of same-sex marriage made a large impact for the LGBTQ community.  Now, many undocumented individuals with same-sex partners could now pursue lawful status in the U.S.  Of course, each individual would need to adhere to all the applicable immigration laws, but the fact that the applicant is in a same-sex marriage would not affect the application. 

There are numerous ways that having a same-sex partner can help your immigration case.  First, if your partner is a U.S. citizen or Lawful Permanent Resident, they can now file a petition for you to immigrate to the U.S. regardless of what state you marry.  Further, a same-sex partner is considered a “qualifying relative” for numerous different purposes.  For example, certain individuals may be considered inadmissible to the U.S. and need a waiver of inadmissibility.  Essentially, for immigration purposes, a same-sex marriage is recognized as any other type of marriage. Once the courts recognized this, USCIS followed suit, and is a large victory not only for the LGBTQ community socially and culturally, but potentially for those that are undocumented within the community. So work with a knowledgeable attorney to keep apprised of the newest updates, and to see if you qualify for a visa or lawful status.

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