Due to a surprise announcement by the Obama administration to consider same-sex marriage in deportation decisions, as reported by The Huffington Post, Australian-born Anthony Makk, who is currently facing deportation, may be able to stay in the U.S. with his husband Bradford Wells.
Earlier this month, The Huffington Post reported the story of Anthony Makk and Bradford Wells, a same-sex married couple that faces deportation for Makk when his visa expires on August 25. Makk and Wells have lived together for 19 years and were legally married in Massachusetts in 2004. Makk is also the primary care taker for Wells, who suffers from AIDS.
The stress of Makk's deportation was intensified by Wells' unstable health condition, which worsened when he suffered symptoms of a heart attack in June, as reported by SF Weekly.
But according to the Obama administration's decision, deportation cases will now be reviewed on a case-by-case basis, taking into account a number of factors, including criminal history and family. In the decision, same-sex couples will be considered family.
Wells called the new policy "a really big step in that the government is showing compassion to gay and lesbian families," according to SFGate.
"There is no doubt that the press attention surrounding their story was noted by the Department of Homeland Security, and that we are on their radar today in a way we had not been before," said Steve Ralls, a spokesman for Immigration Equality, in an interview with SF Gate.
Makk applied for permanent residency earlier this summer, but was denied — a decision he is appealing. The new immigration policy does not currently apply to Makk while he appeals, but will likely aid him in achieving permanent residency if he is denied.
Besides same-sex couples, the new policy could also benefit students and members of the military, family of military service members, spouses and parents of citizens, the elderly and minors, caretakers, asylum-seekers and abuse victims and the mentally and physically ill. Because Makk is married to a citizen, has no criminal history and is the primary caretaker to a citizen, his case could be favorable.
According to The Washington Times, Illinois Democrat Rep. Luis V. Gutierrez celebrated the decision, saying, “Today’s announcement shows that this president is willing to put muscle behind his words and to use his power to intervene when the lives of good people are being ruined by bad laws.”