In late February, the Obama Adminsitration announced that it would no longer defend the 1996 Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) in litigation pending in several courts. (See Charlie Savage and Sheryl Gay Stolberg, In Shift, U.S. Says Marriage Act Blocks Civil Rights, NY Times Feb. 23, 2011). One of the effects of DOMA has been to prevent married same-sex partners from obtaining the immigration rights available to opposite-sex married couples. Now, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services has issued field guidance to delay action on applications that raise the DOMA question. Here’s a comment on Andrew Sullivan’s blog at Atlantic Monthly; here’s a longer item by Chris Geidner at Poliglot.
UPDATE: A New York Times story reports a “clarification” of the USCIS policy and a statement from the agency that it “has not implemented any change in policy and intends to follow the president’s directove to continuing enforcing [DOMA].” See Julia Preston, “Confusion Over Policy on Married Gay Immigrants” (March 29, 2011).