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U.S. Immigration Services puts hold on benefit applications from same-sex couples

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"U.S. Immigration Services puts hold on benefit applications from same-sex couples" sounds bad, but it's actually good — until now, official policy was to deny all immigration benefits to same-sex couples, under the Defense of Marriage Act. But now that President Obama's put DOMA on notice, Immigration Services is putting benefit applications on hold while they wait for further instructions. Holding applications is an improvement on automatically rejecting them, though U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services spokesman Chris Bentley stressed to the Associated Press that the decision did not constitute a change in policy.

We recently posted a story about a gay woman in Queens whose planned deportation back to Argentina was stayed by a judge on the grounds that DOMA might be repealed. This was a very lucky turn for Monica Alcota and her wife, but if the government does the right thing on DOMA, the federal rights of gay and lesbian couples will no longer be a matter of luck.

UPDATE: Never mind — USCIS is back to denying applications.