The Courage Campaign and All Out have launched a joint emergency petition to ask Homeland Security secretary Janet Napolitano to stop the deportations that tear apart gay binational couples such as Josh Vandiver and Henry Velandia, who are featured in the campaign.
The “Torn Apart” campaign draws attention to the plight of 36,000 binational couples who live with the threat of deportation because of the Defense of Marriage Act, which the Obama administration said in February it would no longer defend. While immigration officials have not yet made any policy changes that would spare binational couples, Secretary Napolitano has the legal authority to stop the deportations.
In the video Josh and Henry explain that although they were married in Connecticut, Josh’s petition for Henry’s citizenship was rejected in February, which would not have been the outcome for a nongay married couple. Henry faces a deportation hearing on May 6 that could send him to Venezuela unless, barring a policy change, a barrage of petitions can convince Secretary Napolitano to act.
“Please act now and declare a moratorium on these family-destroying deportations caused by the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), until the current legal battle over national marriage equality is resolved,” says the petition, which can be found at All Out and the Courage Campaign.
“Josh and Henry, and the thousands of other families like theirs, don't deserve to be split apart,” it says.
Watch Josh and Henry tell their story.