On April 10, 2014, Bridget Cambria, Esq., will be presenting on a panel entitled “Navigating Through New Immigration Benefits After the End of DOMA” during the Pennsylvania Bar Association’s 26th Annual Minority Attorney Conference.

Specifically, Bridget will be presenting on her precedent case, Matter of Zeleniak, 26 I&N Dec. 158 (BIA 2013).

This case was decided by the Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA) in response to the United States Supreme Court case United States v. Windsor, 699 F.3d 169 (2013), in which the Supreme Court issued its decision holding that Section 3 of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), defining marriage as between one man and one woman, as unconstitutional.

Following the Windsor case, the BIA was tasked with determining whether, absent the requirements of Section 3 of DOMA, the marriage of a U.S. citizen petitioner and alien beneficiary would qualify the beneficiary to be considered a “spouse” under the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA).

In Matter of Zeleniak, Bridget Cambria represented two gay men who were legally married in Vermont, but physically resided in New Jersey. They filed a visa petition seeking immigration benefits, namely a visa petition and adjustment of status, for an alien spouse married to a US citizen spouse. Ms. Cambria represented the couple during their immigration case and submitted a legal brief to the Board of Immigration Appeals in defense of their marriage and in support of the alien spouse’s ability to apply for a greencard based on their marriage.

The BIA agreed with Ms. Cambria and held that absent Section 3 of the DOMA, the INA would recognize lawful, same-sex marriages and spouses, if the marriage is valid under the laws of the state where it is celebrated.

Link: PA Bar Website