A Philippine immigrant filed a lawsuit Thursday asking for the legal right to stay in the country based on her same-sex marriage to an American citizen.
In the first class action lawsuit of its kind, the group is asking to be granted that same immigration rights as heterosexual couples. The suit was filed by Jane DeLeon, a Philippine immigrant, her son Martin Aranas and her spouse Irma Rodriguez against the Department of Homeland Security.
Just last year, President Obama said he considered the Defense of Marriage Act to be unconstitutional and said he would not defend the law. Several federal courts have also questioned the constitutionality of DOMA. But the lawsuit alleges that the administration has failed to implement a policy that provides deportation protection to same-sex couples.
Immigration attorneys can avert deportation for a same-sex partner on a case by case basis, but Deleon’s lawsuit states that same-sex couples should be granted the same rights as heterosexual couples.
DeLeon and Rodriquez were married in California in during the brief window same-sex marriages were legal; the couple have been together for 20 years.
In April of last year, her immigration application was denied on the grounds that she lied on a previous application in 1989, stating she was a married housewife and entered the country with her common-law partner who was also from the Philippines.
Legal immigration is a strict process, any inconsistencies or untrue statements can jeopardize a request for visas or naturalization. When meeting with an immigration lawyer or USCIS official it’s crucial that the applicant be honest otherwise they could be denied.
Immigrants who want to increase their chances of obtaining a legal presence are advised to seek the counsel of an immigration attorney to lead them through process.