August 20, 2011
A Colorado immigration judge halted the deportation on Friday of a lesbian Mexican national in a same-sex marriage who would be eligible for a marriage-based green card if not for the Defense of Marriage Act.
Immigration Judge Mimi Tsankov in Denver, Colo., determined that deportation proceedings for Sujey Pando will be held off until January amid developments in the Obama administration on allowing gay foreign nationals in legally recognized same-sex marriages with U.S. citizens to stay within the United States.
Sujey is in a same-sex marriage with Violeta Pando, a correctional case manager. The couple has been together five years and married in Iowa in November 2010. If not for DOMA, Violeta would be able to sponsor Sujey for residency in the United States through a I-130 marriage-based green card application.
Growing up in Mexico, Sujey was ostracized by her family after she came out and was snuck into the United States at the age of 16. Her deportation troubles started in 2008, when she was arrested after a traffic violation and taken to jail. U.S. Immigration & Customs Enforcement was notified and deportation proceedings started against her.