DHS will begin reviewing visas for binational same-sex couples

Janet Napolitano says the agency will respond to the DOMA decision “swiftly and smoothly"

Topics: Department of Homeland Security, Janet Napolitano, Immigrants, DoMA, Same-sex marriage,

Janet Napolitano, the secretary of homeland security, says that her agency will immediately begin reviewing visa applications from binational same-sex couples, now that the Supreme Court has struck down the Defense of Marriage Act.

“President Obama directed federal departments to ensure the decision and its implication for federal benefits for same-sex legally married couples are implemented swiftly and smoothly,” Napolitano said in a statement on Monday.  “To that end, effective immediately, I have directed U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) to review immigration visa petitions filed on behalf of a same-sex spouse in the same manner as those filed on behalf of an opposite-sex spouse.”

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As Politico points out, a FAQ on the DHS website now explains that for same-sex couples, “Your eligibility to petition for your spouse, and your spouse’s admissibility as an immigrant at the immigration visa application or adjustment of status stage, will be determined according to applicable immigration law and will not be automatically denied as a result of the same-sex nature of your marriage.”

Jillian Rayfield is an Assistant News Editor for Salon, focusing on politics. Follow her on Twitter at @jillrayfield or email her at jrayfield@salon.com.

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