ADL Welcomes Homeland Security Decision to Allow Same-Sex Binational Families to Stay Together

New York, NY, July 3, 2013 … The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) welcomed the decision by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to permit same-sex couples to petition for immigration visas, paving the way to reunite LGBT families, and hailed Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano’s statement that “all married couples will be treated equally and fairly in the administration of our immigration laws.”

In the wake of the Supreme Court decision declaring the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) unconstitutional, Secretary Janet Napolitano announced that the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) will consider visa petitions filed on behalf of same-sex spouses in the same manner as those filed on behalf of an opposite-sex spouse.

“We have long been committed to both the principle of equal treatment under the law and to the need for immigration policy to keep families together,” said Christopher Wolf, ADL Civil Rights Chair, and Deborah Lauter, ADL Civil Rights Director. “U.S. immigration policy has always recognized that family is the fundamental building block of society and has prioritized keeping families together.”

ADL previously supported legislation to address the separation of LGBT families entitled the “Uniting American Families Act.”   The Supreme Court decision and now its implementation by Secretary Napolitano effectively extends to LGBT families the same consideration afforded to all other immigrant families seeking to live together.

“This new policy is transformative for binational couples who have been forced to live abroad and for Americans who have lived for years, or even decades, separated from their spouses,” Mr. Wolf and Ms. Lauter said.