May 6, 2011
Just now, the immigration judge in the case of Josh and Henry, a couple set to be torn apart by the Administration under DOMA, decided to grant the couple’s request to adjourn the case given the news yesterday afternoon of Attorney General Holder’s intervention in a similar case. The case is adjourned until December. Not a permanent and lasting success, but very good news that gives the Administration time to, in their attorney’s words, find ways to allow same-sex couples in legal partnerships to stay under DOMA, as well as grants more time for the couple to be together.
I have no doubt that the noise we have made around this case, including today’s rally and generating tens of thousands of signatures to Sec. Napolitano and getting the couple on TV, has helped lead to today.
As Henry said:
Great job to everyone involved including those of you who signed to Sec. Napolitano and shared the news of the rally. Onward to more permanent success.
Update: Some comments from Lavi Soloway, the couple’s attorney, on what transpired. Good stuff.
Speaking with Soloway, their attorney in this matter, after the hearing, he tells Metro Weekly the immigration judge adjourned the deportation proceedings, which will place the matter back on the “master calendar,” which is more of a status conference and, more importantly for Velandia and Vandiver, removes the “immediate threat” of deportation.
“The judge said at the outset that he wanted to deal with the question of whether the case should be adjourned before we discussed anything else,” he says. “Despite the fact that he had earlier twice denied our motions for continuance. At this time, he essentially reversed himself.”
Of the reasons, Soloway says, “The first reason that he granted an adjournment was that the I-130 petition filed by Josh for Henry was still pending and he felt that it was appropriate to let the U.S. CIS to adjudicate that petition, and that it would be inappropriate to move forward until that happened.”
The second reason the judge cited, Soloway says, was Holder’s May 5 decision to vacate a decision by the Board of Immigration Appeals related to the application of Paul Wilson Dorman, in which the BIA had applied Section 3 of the Defense of Marriage Act to his pending case.
“He also cited the potential that he saw from the Matter of Dorman decision yesterday, which he reviewed it in court and discussed it,” Soloways says. “He cited the potential that the government might be looking at a different way of approaching the definition of marriage for immigration purposes, and so, it was appropriate to adjourn in light of that decision to vacate.”
Once “the judge explained his reasoning,” Soloway says, “The government attorney said, ‘On behalf of the Department of Homeland Security’ that they were in agreement that that was the appropriate way to move forward.”
Of the Metro Weekly Poliglot report on Holder’s May 5 decision, Soloway notes, “I came into the court and the judge handed me Matter of Dorman, and attached to it, with a staple was [Metro Weekly's] article xeroxed for everyone to see, from yesterday. The judge said, ‘I’d like to make this part of the record.’”
Update 2: A wonderfully produced video of what happened yesterday (h/t Kathleen):