Deportation Could Separate A Recently Married Gay Couple
A couple, married earlier this year, is fighting to stay together as one is about to be deported. Though legally married in Montville, Connecticut this past August, Josh Vandiver may soon be alone.
The problem is not that the marriage is being considered fraudulent; it‘s that Josh Vandiver is married to a man, Henry Velandia of Venezuela to be more precise. The 1996 Defense of Marriage Act does not allow the federal government to recognize gay marriage, and Homeland Security has filed to deport him because, despite company sponsorship, he applied after his visa expired, and his marriage is not recognized and therefore, Vandiver cannot sponsor him.
“It’s a form of discrimination I feel…against me, and I’ve never confronted discrimination from my own government in this before in my life. I feel like all American citizens should be able to sponsor their spouse, whoever they love, to stay with them in this country,” Vandiver, sitting alongside his husband, told a reporter.
The couple hopes that when Velandia appears before his immigration judge in Newark, New Jersey November 17th that his deportation can be delayed until the U.S. Supreme Court rules on the Defense of Marriage Act
Born in Colorado, Josh Vandiver graduated from Harvard in 2004, attended Oxford, and has begun his PhD. program at Princeton in political theory. His partner, Henry Velandia, was born in Venezuela and came to the U.S. in 2002. He is a salsa instructor and teacher who had performed on Univision’s Mira Quien Baila, and is the founder of the HotSalsaHot dance school.