On Friday, an immigration judge in Denver, Colorado implemented the administration’s directive and halted the deportation of Sujey Pando — an undocumented immigrant from Mexico who is married to a U.S. citizen. As Pando’s attorney Lavi Soloway explains on his Stop the Deportations blog, the judge rescheduled the deportation hearing and specifically cited the review directive in her decision:
Because today’s hearing was intended to be a final decision day on Sujey’s deportation, the judge’s action was unusual; she spent 45 minutes methodically considering the procedural posture of the case. In the end, the Judge set aside the intended purpose of the hearing, citing developments including the Attorney General’s intervention in a similar case in May (Matter of Dorman) and noted that the issues involved in this case existed in a context that was “fluid” and “in a state of flux.” The Judge referred to events that occurred as recent as yesterday as having an impact on how to proceed.
The Denver Post notes that “Pando’s mother and stepfather brought her from Chihuahua, Mexico, into the U.S. when she was 16 and promptly kicked her out when she revealed she is a lesbian.” “Her mother, who has permanent residency status, obtained citizenship for her three sons, but not her daughter, because she is gay.” Pando married her longtime partner in Iowa in 2010.
The 1996 Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) prohibits the federal government from recognizing Pando’s same-sex marriage and prohibits the couple from petitioning the federal government for the same immigration benefits that are afforded to separate-sex couples. The Immigration Policy Center estimates that there are “approximately 36,000 same-sex binational couples living in the United States, and approximately half of these couples are raising children.”