Center for Human Rights & Constitutional Law
256 S. Occidental Blvd.
Los Angeles, CA 90057




Class counsel Peter Schey 323-251-3223

Class counsel Carlos Holguin 213-388-8693 x. 309

Case Title: Arenas/Deleon, et al. v. Janet Napolitano, Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security; et al . Case No. SACV12-1137-JVS(MLGx) (United States District Court for the Central District of California)

On Friday April 19, 2013, Federal Judge Consuelo Marshall in Los Angeles, CA., ruled that United States Immigration and Citizenship Services denied Jane DeLeon, an immigrant in a same sex marriage with a US citizen, equal protection of the law when it refused to recognize her marriage as a lawful and legitimate basis to confer immigration benefits. “This Court finds that the broad distinction created by DOMA § 3 is not rationally related to Congress’ interest in a uniform federal definition of marriage.” The court decided that “State law traditionally governs marriage recognition,” and DOMA had disrupted the “long-standing practice of the federal government deferring to each state’s decisions as to the requirements for a valid marriage.”

In so ruling, the court also ruled that a precedent case issued by the U.S. Court of Appeals in the Ninth Circuit in 1982, Adams v. Howerton, which held that denying immigration benefits to same-sex couples did not violate equal protection, has been superseded by "intervening statutory and policy changes," and is therefore no longer binding precedent.

The court certified the lawsuit as a nationwide class action on behalf of "all members of lawful same-sex marriages who have been denied or will be denied lawful [immigration] status or related benefits" pursuant to § 3 of the Defense of Marriage Act.

Ms. DeLeon had also applied for a preliminary injunction requiring CIS to issue class members interim work permits. Judge Marshall, however, declined to issue a preliminary injunction at this time, finding that the possibility of class members' having deportation deferred pursuant to DHS's "Morton Memo" might protect the class adequately until a final judgment is issued in the case.

We continue to believe the Morton Memo affords class members is inadequate protection because it does not grant people work permits and because it does not stop the clock running on the accrual of "unauthorized presence" triggering 3- and 10-year bars to immigrants' obtaining lawful admission to the United States.

We plan to request summary judgment (final judgment) now that Judge Marshall has made clear that DOMA § 3 is unconstitutional as applied to deny immigration benefits. We hope this brings about prompt and efficient protections and remedies for immigrants in same sex marriages.

However, we remained concerned that immigrant members of same-sex marriages will suffer needlessly in the interim. Accordingly, if it comes to our attention that US citizens and immigrants in same sex marriages are now facing needless hardship because their applications and petitions for immigration benefits are not being approved, we are prepared to ask the court again to issue a preliminary injunction, and we believe that effort would stand a good chance of securing interim work permits and tolling of the 3- and 10-year bars to admission for immigrant members of same-sex marriages.

As attorneys for the class we would like to receive information on the following:

• Cases in which CIS, ICE or an Immigration Court denied an immigration application or petition based on DOMA, particularly after October 2012, when, defendants told the court, they stopped issuing denials of same-sex couples immigration applications.

• Cases in which US citizens or immigrants in same sex marriages with immigration petitions or applications pending are facing clear hardships (lack of work permit, inability to travel, Government refusal to suspend deportation proceedings, etc.).

A copy of the court decisions issued today may be read or downloaded by clicking here.

Please also contact us if you have any questions.

Thank you.

Peter Schey

President, Center for Human Rights and Constitutional Law

213-388-8693 ext. 304

Carlos Holguin

General Counsel, Center for Human Rights and Constitutional Law

213-388-8693 x. 309

"The test of our progress is not whether we add more to the abundance of those
who have much; it is whether we provide enough for those who have too little."
- Franklin D. Roosevelt

256 S. Occidental Blvd | Los Angeles, CA 90057 US