Married Gay Immigrant Wins Deportation Reprieve in Texas



A gay Costa Rican immigrant in Texas has won a reprieve from deportation because of his marriage to an American man, in what is reportedly the first such ruling in that state.

A Houston immigration judge Thursday ended the deportation proceedings against David Gonzalez, who married U.S. citizen Mario Ramirez in California in 2008, during the brief period legal same-sex marriages were available there, the Houston Chronicle reports. They later moved to Texas.

The case is “the first in Texas to end in a reprieve based in large part on a same-sex marriage to a U.S. citizen,” the Chronicle reports. There have been similar actions involving married gay binational couples in California, New Jersey, and other states.

“It’s great news,” Immigration Equality spokesman Steve Ralls told the paper. “It’s consistent with similar actions we are seeing in other cases with lesbian and gay couples.”

President Obama’s administration has made some changes in enforcement of immigration laws, such as allowing an immigrant’s relationships to be considered in deportation decisions, that have benefited gay couples. However, immigrants who are in same-sex marriages continue to have difficulty obtaining work permits. Gonzalez has no legal right to work in the U.S., indicating the need for further reform, Ralls told the Chronicle.

“It is definitely good news that the administration is beginning to drop deportation proceedings, but now the individuals who are spared from deportation need to be able to receive that legal recognition that is so important as they continue to build a life here with their U.S. citizen partners,” Ralls said.

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