Gay Married Man Could be Possibly Deported for Undocumented Immigrant Status

According to CNN, the deportation of a gay California man who is married to a U.S. resident was put on hold by a federal immigration court judge.

Alfonso Garcia, 35, came to the United States as a child and has lived here ever since, but has never gained lawful residency.

Garcia and his husband, Brian Willingham, 37, are petitioning for the federal immigration service for legal residency based on their marriage, said the couple’s attorney, Lavi Soloway. The judge put the case on hold while the legal residency (or green card) is being processed.

According to the article, Garcia and Willingham were lawfully married in New York and are registered as domestic partners in California. However, the federal immigration court does not recognize same-sex marriage because the Defense of Marriage Act only constitutes marriage as an act between a man and a woman.

President Barack Obama has called for the repeal of DOMA and Democrats on the Senate Judiciary Committee supported the effort last year, calling for the issue to be taken to the full Senate. However, the measure is considered to have no chance getting passed the Republican-led House.

DOMA is currently being challenged on the federal level for its constitutionality, and is expected to be ruled on this summer. However, the issue has not reached the U.S. Supreme Court.

If Garcia is deported, he will not be able to enter the U.S. for 10 years.


This is why DOMA needs to be repealed. Over the past few years, immigration offices have realized that keeping families together are important. However, gay couples are not recognized as being a family under federal law- a technicality. Well that needs to change. Because of this technicality a couple’s future is on the line. Because of this technicality a man might be deported, despite having lived in the U.S. for the majority of his life.

DOMA is an act that is not in line with reality and it is about time the federal government recognized this and did something about it. Love is love and marriage is marriage. It should not matter who you are or who you choose to love. It is all one in the same and should be recognized as such under law. There should be no debate about it.


About Haley Behre

I graduated from Syracuse University in December 2011 with majors in newspaper journalism and women and gender studies. Using these majors, I aspire to become a journalist who writes about human rights issues. I have held internships at the Syracuse New Times, Dash Media PR Firm, Syracuse Post-Standard and the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press. I also had an internship at the Not For Sale Campaign Syracuse chapter, which is a non-profit organization dedicated to eradicating human trafficking. I was born in Seoul, Korea on September 30, 1990 and moved to the United States before I was one year old. When I was 8, my family and I moved to Norwich, England for three years. While I was here I was immersed into a new culture and got to experience many things other children my age do not get to. Over the three years, I visited Ireland, France and the Netherlands several times, and Belgium, Wales and Sweden once. In the winter of 2010, I got an amazing opportunity to visit Kenya for a month. This was by far the single most eye-opening experience of my life thus far. The natural beauty of the landscape and its people do not compare to anything I have seen. I currently intern for the Reporters Committee for the Freedom of the Press in the hopes of getting a full-time job at a newspaper or non-profit after.
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One Response to Gay Married Man Could be Possibly Deported for Undocumented Immigrant Status

  1. Pingback: News Alert: Gay California man jockeying to stop deportation order | Bazaar Daily News

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