Multi-American | How immigrants are redefining 'American' in Southern California

How same-sex binational couples are affected by U.S. immigration policy

A report from The Williams Institute at the UCLA School of Law uses census data to provide a snapshot of same-sex binational couples in the United States, who aren't eligible for the same forms of immigration relief as male-female married couples, even if married or in a formal civil union. The report details the demographics of this population, and how these couples are affected by U.S. immigration policy.

The largest percentage of same-sex binational couples in the U.S. lives in California. From the full report:

Under U.S. immigration policy, a citizen may obtain permanent residence for their non-citizen different-sex spouse, and expedited citizenship for a resident, different-sex spouse. Permanent residents may also petition for permanent resident status for their different-sex spouses.

However, these options are not extended to same-sex couples, even if they are married or are in civil unions or registered domestic partnerships. Currently none of the estimated 40,000 binational and dual non-citizen same-sex couples in US are eligible to use the immigration mechanisms available to different-sex spouses.
More than half of binational same-sex couples (53%) are categorically barred from pursuing permanent residency as a couple in either partner"s country of origin.

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