7/01/11 FoxNews.com The federal decision to stop deportation proceedings against a Venezuela-born New Jersey man who legally married his same-sex partner in the United States — effectively recognizing gay marriage — is an “abuse of executive authority” by the Obama administration, immigration experts told FoxNews.com.
Henry Velandia, a 27-year-old professional salsa dancer from Caracas now living in New Jersey, legally married U.S. citizen Josh Vandiver, 30, in Connecticut last year, but due to the Defense of Marriage Act — a 1996 federal law that defines marriage as between a man and a woman — Vandiver was not allowed to sponsor Velandia for a green card in the same way a heterosexual person could for his or her spouse. The Department of Homeland Security nevertheless decided to drop deportation efforts against him Wednesday.
Velandia told FoxNews.com that Wednesday’s ruling was a “big, uplifting moment” and the product of a year’s worth of hard work on behalf of the couple’s attorney, Lavi Soloway.
“I can now be with Josh, my husband, in this country without fear of being torn apart,” he said on Friday. “It’s like our first day building up our life together. But we know the fight is not over. We’re going to keep fighting for marriage equality for all the couple who are in the same situation.”
But Jessica Vaughan, director of policy studies at the Washington-based Center for Immigration Studies, said the decision is misguided prosecutorial discretion that could “destroy the credibility” of immigration law in the United States.
“This is another instance of the Obama administration’s abuse of executive authority on behalf of select groups of removable aliens that it thinks are sympathetic to make a run around Congress and provide amnesty to as many illegal aliens as possible,” Vaughan said. “These people are props for the administration, which is uncomfortable in its mission to enforce immigration laws. What they’re really doing here with this policy of discretion is giving a free pass to huge numbers of people who have been living here illegally.”