On June 26, 2013, I was in San Francisco at the Annual Conference for the American Immigration Lawyers Association. On that day, the U.S. Supreme Court announced their decision in Windsor, saying that the federal government could not discriminate against same-sex couples. Windsor was about survivor benefits, but all of us at the conference knew that this was going to change U.S. immigration law and policy. I couldn’t wait to get back to the office and get started on filing marriage-based cases for same-sex couples – it was so exciting to be part of history!
I’m grateful to say that I’ve lost count of how many same-sex couples we’ve worked with. But, as we’re celebrating Pride this month, I wanted to celebrate two very special clients (names have been changed).
Our first consular processing case for a same-sex couple involved Chris, who is from a Muslim-majority country. He was so worried to go to his visa interview because the employees at the U.S. Embassy would see that he was being sponsored by his husband. Thankfully, the interview went well, the visa was approved, and the couple has been in the U.S. for several years. Chris has an application for naturalization pending and we can’t wait for him to be sworn-in as a U.S. citizen!
Jennifer was our first LGBTQI applicant in Atlanta to apply for a green-card after the Windsor decision. I remember going to the green card interview, wondering what it would be like. Would the officer behave appropriately? Would they ask appropriate questions? The truth is, I don’t remember much about the interview, which is a good thing – it means that it was like any other green card interview. Jennifer was approved for permanent residency and now she’s also in process to become a U.S. citizen. It’s crazy to think that none of this would have been possible just a few years ago.
We love helping ALL families stay together – it’s a major reason why we do what we do!