Vermont Freedom to Marry applauds Vermont’s Congressional delegation for achieving what must be huge relief for a Vermont married couple, Takako Ueda and Frances Herbert. For now, Takako, who is legally married to Frances, will be able to remain in Vermont without the imminent threat of deportation.
Please see below for the full statement from our Congressmen.
We thank Senator Patrick Leahy, Senator Bernie Sanders, and Representative Peter Welch, for working to keep legally married bi-national families together. They had already signed on to a letter urging Department of Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano and the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services to support relief from potential deportation for bi-national same-sex spouses who have applied for green cards.
Leahy, Sanders And Welch
Announce Lifting Of The Threat Of Deportation
That Hovered Over Vermont Same-Sex Couple
WASHINGTON, May 22 – Sens. Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) and Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), and Rep. Peter Welch (D-Vt.) today announced a breakthrough that will bring certainty and stability for now to the legal status of a Japanese-born woman, Takako Ueda, who is married under Vermont law to an American citizen, Frances Herbert. The couple live in Dummerston, Vt.
The bi-national same-sex couple has been together for more than a decade and were legally married in Vermont last year, but U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services had denied the Japanese-born Ms. Ueda a spousal permanent resident card, also known as a green card. Under the federal Defense of Marriage Act, their marriage is not recognized at the federal level.
Leahy, Sanders and Welch announced that the citizenship agency used its discretion to grant “deferred action” to Ms. Ueda, in effect suspending any potential deportation for now.
The lawmakers previously had urged Department of Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano for her agency to reconsider its December 2011 decision to deny a spousal green card for Ms. Ueda. They asked that the agency re-evaluate its policy on marriage-based immigration petitions for same-sex spouses, and particularly for the Dummerston couple.
“We welcome this remedy that for now will offer a measure of common sense and compassion for this Vermont couple. Ms. Ueda now will be able to apply to USCIS for authorization to work, and to the Vermont Department of Motor Vehicles for a driver’s license. All three of our offices have worked hard to support this loving and committed couple who have been unfairly prevented by DOMA from enjoying the rights and benefits that all lawfully married couples deserve,” the delegation said in a joint statement on Tuesday’s breakthrough.