Federal authorities have stopped the deportation of a gay immigrant legally married to a United States citizen.
In a shift of policy, immigration officials are now given the leeway to study the merits of individual cases.
Venezuelan Henry Velandia came to the United States almost a decade ago to dance. The 27-year-old salsa dancer met American Josh Vandiver five years ago. The New Jersey couple legally married in Connecticut less than a year ago.
In 2009, with the support of a sponsor and before his marriage, Velandia applied for a green card. But instead of obtaining legal residency, Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) started a deportation process.
"I thought my world was crumbling," said Velandia. His spouse, Vandiver, said "the only reason the federal government was not recognizing the marriage was the Defense of the Marriage Act."
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