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DHS Announces Consideration of Same-Sex Couples in Prosecutorial Discretion Cases
The Department of Homeland Security announced on September 26, 2012 that it would consider a same-sex couple relationship as evidence of an immigrant’s “ties and contributions to the community, including family relationships” when considering a deportation case for administrative closure. Here is the article from the New York Times:
To be clear, in a deportation case, the ICE attorney prosecuting the case has the “prosecutorial discretion” to decide whether to continue with deportation, or to close the case and not continue with deportation. In June 2011, the Department of Homeland Security issued a Memo stating that in making those determinations, the government’s attorneys should consider 19 factors, including the immigrant’s “ties and contributions to the community, including family relationships”. Normally in immigration cases, as in most other areas of federal law, partners in a same-sex — including those who are legally married — may not apply for immigration benefits based upon that relationship. This new policy, however, marks what could be the beginning of a significant shift in policy by including same-sex relationships as a positive factor for the immigrant in deportation.