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US to weigh gay relationships in deportation cases

US to weigh gay relationships in deportation cases

CREATED Aug 3, 2012

Web Producer: Taylor Avey

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) - Amid pressure from lawmakers, Homeland Security officials are reiterating that a foreigner's longstanding same-sex relationship with a U.S. citizen could help stave off the threat of deportation.

Homeland Security spokeswoman Marsha Catron said Friday that binational gay couples are eligible for consideration under a federal program designed to focus government resources away from low priority deportation cases.

However, that does not mean the Obama administration will automatically shelve deportation cases or process green card applications involving foreign citizens married to same-sex American partners.

The statement, which builds on comments Homeland Security officials first made last summer, comes three days after 84 lawmakers demanded the agency put its position in writing to help protect same-sex couples from deportation.

Immigrant advocates welcomed the comments but said a formal policy still is needed.

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