Today we go an update on some major LGBT news that broke yesterday regarding immigration.
On Tuesday, it looked like the LGBT community was getting it own version of this. As Clarknt67 diaried, “DOJ’s DOMA Decision, Once A Ripple, Now A Wave?”
Here’s the lead for a Wall Street Journal article not long ago slightly modified:
The Department of Homeland Security said Tuesday it is temporarily freezing a policy of deporting [spouses] of U.S. citizens, a sign of the Obama administration's interest in new approaches to immigration.
Only a few hundred people were at risk of deportation under the policy, but critics viewed it as one of the most painful consequences of President George W. Bush's immigration crackdown.
Under the current interpretation of federal law, some immigrants whose American spouses [are gay] faced possible deportation because their legal status was in limbo. The rule applied to immigrants who had been married [and] whose green-card process hadn't been completed […]. The clause, known as the "[gay] penalty," had resulted in a spate of lawsuits.
On Tuesday, Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano announced that her agency was freezing any action against such [spouses] for two years. "Smart immigration policy balances strong enforcement practices with common-sense, practical solutions to complicated issues," Ms. Napolitano said.
I say modified because the above story wasn’t about bi-national married same sex couples where one spouse was facing deportation. It was about the widow(er)s of American citizens being deported because their spouse had died prior to their green card being approved. But to prevent the injustice of that, the Obama Administration, through Dept. of Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano, put a two year moratorium on the practice until the law was changed or the lawsuits had a chance to proceed.
Well, we appear to have an answer to Clarknt67's question on whether this is now a wave or still just a ripple...
Quoting of Metro Weekly
Christopher Bentley, the spokesman for the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, [says] that cases of foreign partners who are married to a same-sex partner and would otherwise be eligible for a green card are on hold in light of questions about the continued validity of the Defense of Marriage Act.
Bentley writes, "USCIS has issued guidance to the field asking that related cases be held in abeyance while awaiting final guidance related to distinct legal issues."
He notes, however, "USCIS has not implemented any change in policy and intends to follow the President's directive to continue enforcing the law."
What looked on Tuesday to be a breakthrough in the rights for bi-national LGBT couples has turned decidedly sour on today:
The "hold" on same-sex married bi-national couples' green card applications -- celebrated by immigration and LGBT advocates -- is over, according to the spokesman for the agency that processes those requests.
"The guidance we were awaiting ... was received last night, so the hold is over, so we're back to adjudicating cases as we always have," U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services press secretary Christopher Bentley told Metro Weekly this morning.
Call me cynical, but I'm really starting to believe the Administration is doing this intentionally in making some move that initially looks very bold, magnanimous and inspiring, only to have it turn out to be vaporware in the final product after the accolades. People generally don't see the follow-up story and it rarely makes as much news at the first.
We've seen it time and again with the "extension of benefits to the same-sex partners of federal employees" which turned out to be decidedly meh, or the purposeful leaking of the new policy extending the Family and Medical Leave Act to gay couples...which turned out to only be for the children of same sex couples and not the spouses or partners.
Of course I don't have to single out the Obama Administration for this trend. Its been the story of the LGBT rights movement for years. Obama is just the latest practitioner of the game. We seem another one of the games playing out today with the reintroduction of the Employment Non-Discrimination Act. In another great diary by Clarknt67, he notes that the first bill proposed to extend equal employment protections to gays and lesbians was introduced in March of 1974, over 37 years ago, and that not only does Gallup show 89% of Americans supporting equal employment opportunities for gays and lesbians, a whooping 42% of Americans in a 2001 Harris poll thought gays and lesbians already have that protection. Just months ago, the bill's 2011 sponsor, only gay Congressman Barney Frank, stated ENDA would have no chance in the 112th Congress. It couldn't do much worse than it did in the 111th Congress, where the overwhelmingly Democratic controlled House failed to even have hearing or vote on the bill in committee despite the repeatedly repeated repitition of repreatedly repeated repitition of repeated assurances that "it's coming."
I think most of us can agree that the Obama Administration has good intentions or at least wants to be seen as having good intentions towards equal rights for the LGBT community. But no matter how you slice it, one thing is certain, their hype never lives up to it billing. When it comes to the nitty-gritty...they suck.
And breaking as well today, as even further proof that they suck in the follow through, I point you to DADT: "IT'S ALIVE!!!"