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New Obama Policy: Deportations Coming to an End?

New Obama Policy: Deportations Coming to an End?

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Deportations that break up binational same-sex couples could be ending if a new policy outlined today by the White House is implemented as described.

The White House announced that it will review many of the cases already in the system -- some 300,000 -- and then drop any it deems a "low priority." That could include spouses in binational LGBT couples.

"It makes no sense to spend our enforcement resources on these low-priority cases when they could be used with more impact on others, including individuals who have been convicted of serious crimes," said Cecilia Munoz, the administration's director of Intergovernmental Affairs, in a statement about the new policy.

The Department of Homeland Security will first target anyone -- gay or straight -- who has been convicted of a crime.

"There are more than 10 million people who are in the U.S. illegally; it's clear that we can't deport such a large number," Munoz said. "So the administration has developed a strategy to make sure we use those resources in a way that puts public safety and national security first. If you were running a law enforcement agency anywhere in the world, you would target those who pose the greatest harm before those who do not."

The Defense of Marriage Act, which the administration has stopped defending against legal challenges in court, had barred married same-sex couples from the same citizen sponsorship rights afforded straight couples.

U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement had already issued new guidelines in June to field directors, agents, and attorneys instructing them to consider a person's spouse, ties to the community, and other commonsense factors before pursuing deportation. And many had interpreted that instruction to extend protection to binational gay couples.

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