Federal Officials Cancel Deportation of Venezuelan Man in Same-Sex Marriage

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Josh and Henry. Photo: Princetonian

On Wednesday, a U.S. federal official canceled the deportation of a New Jersey–based Venezuelan man married to an American man. The case has been eyed closely by immigration lawyers and gay-rights advocates: Since February, when Attorney General Eric Holder announced that the Obama administration views the Defense of Marriage Act as unconstitutional and won't defend it in court, advocates have asked the administration to postpone the deportations of people in same-sex marriages until the courts decide whether the marriage act is constitutional, but the administration said it would continue to enforce the law. Consequently, lawyers and activists, who viewed the case, in part, as a test of the federal government’s position on the Defense of Marriage Act, said Wednesday's decision represents a significant policy shift. “This action shows that the government has not only the power but the inclination to do the right thing when it comes to protecting vulnerable populations from deportation,” the couple's lawyer said. Also, they happen to sound like a great pair:


The Venezuelan man, Henry Velandia, 27, is a salsa dancer who immigrated in 2002 and was legally married last year in Connecticut to Josh Vandiver, 30, a graduate student at Princeton University.

Even the feds wouldn't tear those two apart.

U.S. Drops Deportation Proceedings Against Immigrant in Same-Sex Marriage [NYT]