U.S. government to grant immigration benefits to eligible gay couples

When the U.S. Supreme Court ruled last week that Section 3 of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) was unconstitutional, I wrote that this decision could open the way to immigration benefits for gay couples of citizens or permanent residents.

Yesterday, Janet Napolitano, Secretary of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security confirmed that immigration benefits will be granted to eligible gay couples.

In a brief statement, Napolitano said that President Obama ordered the various departments of his administration to enforce the Supreme Court's decision and that same-sex couples who are legally married will get the federal benefits for which they are eligible.

To that end, Napolitano directed U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) to immediately begin reviewing family petitions filed on behalf of same-sex spouses, and that they should be processed in the same manner as applications from heterosexual couples.

It will be important to show that the marriage between same-sex couples is legal in the state or country where they are married. Any applicant for permanent residency through marriage will have to prove several requirements including that the marriage is bona fide and not for immigration benefits.

It is of utmost importance to consult with an immigration attorney before beginning any immigration proceedings.

I was interviewed today on CNN en Español's Directo USA show about the issue. Watch the interview below, where I clearly explain the ramifications of this decision and answer some key questions about how gay couples will be able to file family petitions and what are some of the requirements they will have to meet to be eligible. Also, I share a segment from CNN en Español's Directo USA that summarizes the census statistics as they relate to same-sex couples.

Here are the segments: