An immigration judge has agreed to halt the deportation proceedings of a Queens, N.Y. woman until the legality of DOMA and her same-sex marriage becomes clearer.
Monica Alcota and Cristina Ojeda are the first married gay couple to argue in court that a pending deportation should be terminated since the Obama administration announced in February that it would no longer defend section 3 of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), according to The Advocate. Alcota, an Argentine citizen, married Ojeda in Connecticut in 2010 but her deportation case has continued because federal law fails to recognize marriages of same-sex couples.
The Advocate reports, “At a Tuesday morning hearing in New York Immigration Court, a U.S. Immigrations and Customs Enforcement attorney indicated that the government was willing to adjourn the deportation proceedings against Alcota while Ojeda proceeds with a green card petition on behalf of her noncitizen spouse. The judge agreed with the government attorney’s recommendation and asked the couple for an update on Ojeda’s alien relative petition by December.”
“[Judge Terry A. Bain] could have said no,” Ojeda said. “But instead she gave us time. Little by little, we’re building up hope and more courage.”
In the wake of the judge’s and the Obama administration’s decisions, The Advocate also reports that, “Immigration offices in Baltimore and Washington, D.C. reportedly began putting green card applications and alien relative petitions involving married, binational gay couples on hold, effectively deferring potential deportation proceedings.”