U.S. Law Center

Immigration rules negatively impact unwed couples in California

A same-sex couple from Honduras believed that they would be able to live together safely after coming to the United States. They had planned to apply for asylum based on the fact that they were persecuted for their sexuality at home. However, after arriving together in California, they were sent to detention centers in different states. One of the men was sent to Colorado while the other was sent to Louisiana.

In Colorado, only 22% of asylum applications are approved, and in Louisiana, fewer than 1 out of every 10 asylum requests is granted. Since the two men were not married, there was a chance that one person could have been granted the right to stay in the United States while the other did not.

Of course, it is difficult for those in same-sex relationships to get married in many countries in Central America. This is because such marriages are outlawed in those nations, which means that there is no formal recognition of same-sex unions. In most cases, married couples who are seeking asylum are allowed to remain together even if they are temporarily detained. This is because a married asylum seeker can sponsor a husband or wife as a derivative asylee if that person can show evidence of a valid civil union or marriage.

Those who have a fear of persecution or violence in their home countries may be allowed to remain in the United States. If granted asylum, an individual may be allowed to find employment as well as enjoy other limited rights. In some cases, it may be possible for couples to remain together while they go through the asylum process. An attorney may provide more details about how to stay in the country legally.

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