Napolitano: Gay Couples to Get Relief From Deportation

ICE agents will consider same-sex couples 'family'
By Neal Colgrass,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 28, 2012 4:17 PM CDT
Napolitano: LGBT Couples Get Relief From Deportation
US Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano in Jerusalem, Sunday, May 20, 2012.    (AP Photo/Sebastian Scheiner)

Janet Napolitano put it in writing yesterday: Same-sex couples in "long-term" relationships will be less likely to get deported from the United States, the Huffington Post reports. The Obama administration had already said as much, but Napolitano, secretary of the Department of Homeland Security, solidified it in messages to 80 House Democrats who had asked to see it added to department guidelines. "This is a huge step forward," says an LGBT advocate.

DHS released guidelines last year telling its agents that various factors, including family relationships, could make a person "low priority" for deportation, the San Francisco Chronicle reports. But the term "family relationships" remained vague until Napolitano wrote in her letter that it "includes long-term, same-sex partners." The new policy will be disseminated to immigration and customs agents next week, she said. (Read more same-sex couples stories.)

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