By Brianna Lee | October 29, 2014
President Barack Obama is expected to make a move on immigration reform in the later months of this year, after he delayed plans to issue executive orders until after the Nov. 4 midterm elections. The president may extend deportation relief to potentially millions of undocumented immigrants. But some groups fear that relief may leave out the undocumented who are also lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender.
One of the most hotly anticipated, and politically polarizing, moves the Obama administration is considering involves expanding the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, which was launched by executive order in 2012. Undocumented immigrants who arrived to the U.S. as children can get a reprieve from deportation under DACA. Several reports have speculated that Obama could extend that protection to family members of DACA-eligible immigrants, or even undocumented parents of U.S. citizens.
But the idea of a formal family relationship requirement for relief concerns some groups who say LGBT communities have a much harder time establishing formal family ties. “LGBT people didn’t have access to marriage equality for so long — and in some cases, still don’t have that,” said Aaron Morris, legal director for Immigration Equality, an organization that provides legal assistance to LGBT immigrants. “For families, it can be really complicated to have a formally recognized document that proves you are a child’s mother or a spouse of an individual.”