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Gay couple's deportation case closed
2011-08-24

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The government publicly is dropping the deportation proceedings that threatened to tear apart Alex Benshimol and Douglas Gentry—a married, gay, binational couple in California—marking the second time in which Immigration and Customs Enforcement ( ICE ) has agreed to close a deportation case involving such a couple, according to a press release.

After appearing before San Francisco Immigration Judge Marilyn Teeter for their deportation hearing on July 13, she instructed the government to respond within 60 days to a lengthy and detailed request for administrative closure from the couple's attorney, Lavi Soloway.

Teeter scheduled the next hearing for September 2013, postponing deportation proceedings for more than two years in case the government did not agree to close the case. On Aug. 11, however, Teeter received and granted the government's motion to administratively close deportation proceedings against Benshimol, a Venezuelan citizen.

On Aug. 18, Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano announced a case-by-case review of all current and future deportation cases—what advocates cite as another milestone in the fight to repeal the Defense of Marriage Act.

"We are cautiously optimistic after the announcement this week by Secretary Napolitano that all 300,000 pending deportation cases will be reviewed for possible closure, including those impacting LGBT families," said Soloway. "However, we do not yet know the mechanics of that process, nor how long it will take for the government working group to carry out its mission. In the meantime, we must continue to fight for each couple and for an end to DOMA deportations across the board."


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