The U.S. government has decided to stop deportation proceedings against Henry Velandia, a native Venezuelan who is legally married to Princeton resident Josh Vandiver, who is a graduate student at Princeton University.
A U.S. judge recently ruled should be allowed to stay together, despite the immigration department use of the Defense of Marriage Act as a reason to separate them.
The cancellation of deportation actions by the U.S. Immigration Department was applauded by U.S. Rep. Rush Holt today. Holt said his office has been working for more than a year to stop the deportation proceedings.
“I have urged federal officials in phone calls and letters to drop their wrong-headed efforts to deport Henry Velandia, the lawful spouse of an American citizen,” said Holt in a prepared statement. “I am delighted that, at long last, Henry and his husband Josh can lead their lives together free from the fear of deportation.”
Holt said the couple’s struggle underscores the ongoing injustice, discrimination, and legal uncertainty that plague same-sex couples. He hopes the federal courts will soon rule the so-called Defense of Marriage Act unconstitutional, and said he will continue to push for its repeal “so that no other married couple has to endure the fear and confusion that Henry and Josh lived with for so long.”
“Over the past year, Henry and Josh have courageously served as symbols in the fight against marriage discrimination,” Holt said. “I know that they will continue to battle discrimination in all its forms, but I hope that, now that their personal fight has reached its end, they may enjoy the happiness and peace that they deserve. They have my continued best wishes and warmest regards.”