Immigration issues have increased since the legalization of same-sex marriage in a number of states. Gay rights advocates argue that a same-sex marriage should allow an individual the opportunity to apply for a green card just like someone from a heterosexual marriage. One problem is that, while states such as California permit gay marriage, other states do not. Contention arises when a gay individual, who may be subject immigration proceedings, becomes legally married in one state, and later moves to a state that does not yet recognize same-sex unions.

A gay man from Costa Rica entered the United States on a tourist visa in 2003 to escape an abusive relationship. When the visa expired, the man stayed illegally and eventually married a U.S. citizen in California in 2008. The gay couple then moved to Texas for better job and housing opportunities. At a San Diego checkpoint, authorities discovered his tourist visa had expired. Deportation proceedings commenced and are currently pending.

In California, a San Francisco judge recently delayed deportation proceedings against a man from Venezuela who married his partner, a U.S. citizen. It is arguable that the same circumstances apply to the Costa Rican immigrant, except he now lives in Texas, a state that not honor or permit gay marriage.

The man’s attorney says it is embarrassing that 21 other countries in the world recognize the rights of their citizens and sponsor same-sex partners for residence in those countries.

The Costa Rican man faces a deportation hearing in Texas on August 31. His attorney hopes to delay the proceedings in the hope that the Defense of Marriage Act is ultimately repealed or ruled unconstitutional.

Asylum has also been requested on the man’s behalf because of violence, including rape, he suffered in Costa Rica. Homosexual couples face mounting controversies when it comes to marriage in the United States; the fight becomes even more stressful when immigration is a factor. As such, confronting immigration issues can become intimidating – a fact that prompts many undocumented immigrants to seek the aid of qualified counsel.

Source: Khou, “Gay-married immigrant fights deportation,” Gabe Gutierrez, July 18, 2011