Monday, 8 November 2010

Video: married American gay couple battle deportation

Source: Southern Voice

Josh Vandiver and Henry Velandia, a gay married couple in New Jersey, might have to rethink where they call home. That’s because Velandia is in the process of being deported due to the Defense of Marriage Act preventing Vandiver from being eligible to sponsor his partner for permanent residency.

According to the pair met in 2006, and it was “Love at first sight,” said Velandia. They got married in Montville, Connecticut, on August 29, 2010.

Velandia is a native of Venezuela and immigrated to the States in 2002. A salsa dancer and instructor, he has done quite well in America, performing on Univision’s Mira Quien Balia. He also founded the HotSalsaHot dance school in Princeton, New Jersey.

Vandiver, born in Colorado, is a 2004 Harvard graduate and is currently studying for his Ph.D. in political theory at Princeton University.

 Vandiver noted that if he were straight there wouldn’t be a problem stopping the deportation, but since the DOMA doesn’t allow the Federal government to recognize gay marriages he feels discriminated.

According to Vandiver stated, “It’s a form of discrimination, I feel like, against me, and I’ve never confronted discrimination from my own government…I feel like all American citizens should be able to sponsor their spouse, or whoever they love to stay with them in this country.”

Even though he has acquired company sponsorship, Velandia applied after his visitors Visa had expired, making him technically an illegal resident. Velandia is set to appear before an immigration judge on November, 17.

While the couple is hopeful that the deportation can be stalled until the federal Supreme Court rules on the DOMA, legal experts told that their chances are slim to none.

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