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The U.S. Supreme Court issued a landmark decision in U.S. v. Windsor on June 26, 2013 when it struck down Section 3 of DOMA. Section 3 defined marriage as being only between a man and a woman. The Court has determined that this definition of marriage is unconstitutional. The Court's decision means that bi-national same-sex couples have the right to the same federally recognized benefits as would any heterosexual married couple. For purposes of immigration law, this means that bi-national same-sex couples may now apply for marriage based immigration benefits.

While there was initially concern that the USCIS would only approve same-sex marriage based cases for couples who marry and reside in a state that recognizes same-sex marriage, that concern has been resolved. Under Matter of Zeleniak, the Board of Immigration Appeals has determined that the immigration laws will be governed by the state in which the marriage was celebrated. USCIS will not look to whether or not the state in which the couple resides recognizes same-sex marriage.

If you or someone you love, has questions about immigration benefits for same sex-couples, please contact our office at (800) 669-1413 or email us to set up a confidential consultation.


On June 15, 2012, the U.S. government announced Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA). This program provides temporary immigration relief for people who came to the United States as children. It is sometimes incorrectly referred to as a DREAM Act program or the DREAM Act. The DREAM Act is federal legislation that has been proposed for many years but has not passed Congress. The DREAM Act is a permanent solution for those who were brought here as children and want to legalize their status.

Among the benefits of DACA is that those who receive deferred action will not be placed into removal proceedings or removed from the United States for a specified period of time. Those who receive deferred action, may also be eligible for employment authorization.

Eligibility for DACA:

  • Came to the United States under the age of sixteen (16);
  • Under the age of 31 as of June 15, 2012
  • Entered the United States without inspection before June 15, 2012, or your lawful immigration status expired as of June 15, 2012;
  • Continuously resided in the United States for five (5) years prior to June 15, 2012
  • Meet the educational or military requirements:
    • Currently in school; or
    • Graduated from high school; or
    • Obtained a GED (General Education Development) certificate; or
    • Be honorably discharged veteran of the Coast Guard or Armed Forces of the United States;
  • No criminal offenses
    • Conviction for felony offenses;
    • Significant misdemeanor offense;
    • Multiple misdemeanor offenses; or
    • Pose a threat to national security or public safety;

To schedule an initial consultation with a Memphis Immigration attorney, call (901) 692-5732 or with a New York City Immigration Attorney, call (646) 380-0474 or contact Witty Law Group, PLLC.