A reader writes:
As an immigration attorney, I was so disappointed to read this. I had been elated by the news about the immigration court in Queens staying removal proceedings for the same sex spouse of a U.S. citizen to allow time for her immigrant visa petition to be adjudicated pending the resolution of the DOMA litigation. Just last week I was at a meeting of the American Immigration Lawyers Associate DC chapter, at which Sarah Taylor, the Director of the USCIS Washington District Office, enthusiastically responded in the affirmative when asked if her office would be holding immigrant visa petitions filed by same-sex spouses in abeyance (it was the clearest and most unambiguous answer she gave to any question that night).
Yesterday, it was confirmed that this was a national policy, and I was giddily discussing with my colleague whether USCIS would issue work permits to same-sex spouses who applied for adjustment of status to permanent resident simultaneously with the filing of the immigrant visa petition. Straight foreign nationals are entitled to work permits under these circumstances in order to allow them to work while their green card applications remain pending. Why wouldn’t it be the same for gay foreign nationals whose immigrant visa petitions were being held in abeyance?
At least one current client and one potential client have already inquired about this - so hopeful were they and we the past couple of days. I just had to email the potential client with the latest update and sadly advise her to hold off on having her spouse file the petition, since it could jeopardize her ability to get a nonimmigrant visa and would probably be rejected soon anyway.
The Obama administration would be absolutely within its rights to continue to hold these petitions in abeyance until the DOMA litigation is resolved by the courts. But having observed the administration’s posture during the DADT debate, I am unsurprised that it now appears we will soon get news that these petitions will be rejected once again.
On another note, I am shocked that you have been here so long doing such prominent work and don’t have a green card yet. You surely qualified in any of several employment-based categories long ago. I’m obviously not looking for you to discuss this on the Dish or even to explain your situation to me. Just wanted to tell you how struck I was reading that you’re still not an LPR. Really hope it comes through soon.