Comment of Senator Patrick Leahy On DHS Deferred Action Policy For Same Sex Partners

[Department of Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano recently announced that DHS’s prosecutorial discretion policy concerning immigrants that pose no risk to national security will expressly cover those in same-sex relationships.  The policy will direct immigration officials to consider LGBT family ties when evaluating eligibility for relief under administration policy.  The announcement follows up on Napolitano's announcement in June concerning deferred action for qualifying young people, and the Department’s broader prosecutorial discretion policy.]

"I commend Secretary Napolitano for recognizing the value and importance of all families.  Her actions in this regard represent another step toward fairness and equality under our immigration law, and most of all it is the right thing to do.  I praised President Obama and Secretary Napolitano in June for rightly embracing a temporary relief policy for qualified young people, brought here through no fault of their own, and I again commend them for extending the same opportunities for relief to qualifying same-sex couples.

"Earlier this month I was pleased to welcome Senator Susan Collins as the first Republican cosponsor to my Uniting American Families Act, which would update U.S. immigration law to permit American citizens to sponsor same-sex 'permanent partners' applying for legal residency in the United States. I am heartened to see the momentum grow in our efforts to keep families together and provide for those who qualify the chance to remain in the United States legally."