Illegal Immigrants With American Same-Sex Partners May Get Deportation Reprieve

SAN FRANCISCO (CBS / AP) — The Department of Homeland Security is planning to issue a policy memo stating illegal immigrants with American same-sex partners are eligible for consideration of having their deportation put on hold.

Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano delivered the news on Thursday in a letter to 84 Democratic lawmakers who had pressed her agency to provide written guidance. The policy expected to go out next week falls under a federal program designed to focus resources away from low-priority deportation cases.

Napolitano says the memo to Immigration and Customs Enforcement offices will state that binational gay couples in long-term relationships would meet the definition of family that government lawyers can use as grounds for deferring a foreign citizen’s removal from the U.S.

The policy does not mean Americans who are married to same-sex foreigners will be able to sponsor their spouses’ green card applications.

(Copyright 2012 by CBS San Francisco. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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