UPDATE @ 2:05 PM: Via their facebook page, Henry and Josh report some good news, for the time being anyway:
Judge grants adjournment!! We have to come back in December! More soon!
There’s a deportation hearing today at the Department of Homeland Security’s Newark Immigration Court for Henry Velandia, who is married to Josh Vandiver, beginning at 1 PM ET. There’s also a rally, organized by 10 LGBT groups, taking place outside of the courthouse now. The Obama administration cannot deport Henri. Just can’t. The President, his AG and his Secretary of Homeland Security, have the power to stop this deportation.
Stay tuned. There’s a lot happening. GetEQUAL will have updates from the protest. And, GetEQUAL is tweeting photos, like the one to the left of the crowd and the cameras. Also, Josh and Henry are both on twitter. This is a critical day for this couple. The U.S. government could rip apart their family. We’ll post any updates.
In related news, The Advocate’s Andrew Harmon spoke to the Attorney for Paul Wilson Dorman. Yesterday, in a “ground breaking” move, Dorman’s deportation order was vacated by Eric Holder:
Attempts to keep Velandia in the country may have gotten a boost from Atty. Gen Eric Holder, who on Thursday vacated an immigration appeals court’s deportation decision in another case — one involving a man from the United Kingdom who has a New Jersey civil union with his American partner.
In that case — largely unknown to key players in the gay immigration rights movement prior to Thursday — Paul Wilson Dorman, 40, and his partner did not apply for a green card, but instead asked for what’s known as a cancellation of removal. In that circumstance, a person who has been in the U.S. for 10 years with a spouse or other qualified relative can ask the courts to remain in the country if deportation would result in extreme hardship.
Holder asked the appeals board to evaluate whether Dorman would be considered a “spouse” under New Jersey law, as well as whether he would be considered a “spouse” under federal immigration law, were it not for the Defense of Marriage Act. Holder’s move could signal the administration’s willingness to use its authority in stopping potential deportations of binational gay couples.
Reached Friday by The Advocate, Dorman’s attorney, Nicholas J. Mundy, said his client is from Northern Ireland and has been in the country since 1996. His case had been appealed to the U.S. court of appeals for the third circuit, which may have heard oral arguments in July, prior to Holder’s order.
The immigration court had not made any determination on whether Dorman’s case qualified as extreme and unusual hardship, Mundy said, because the judge found the couple ineligible to petition for cancellation of removal in the first place.
Mundy said he had not been given advance notice of Holder’s order.
“The entire decision by the attorney general is ground breaking,” said Mundy, a Brooklyn, N.Y. immigration attorney in private practice. “I do wish that the case had been remanded back with specific instructions, but just the mere fact the attorney general decided to step in at the 11th hour was monumental.”
We expected “ground breaking” and “monumental” from the Obama administration back in January of 2009. These couples shouldn’t be brought to the brink of deportation before they get relief.