Undocumented immigrants with same-sex partners could avoid deportation under a new policy change announced by the Obama Administration this week.
If they have been in a long-term relationship and have a family, they can seek a deferral of deportation.
"I have directed ICE to disseminate written guidance to the field that the interpretation of the phrase 'family relationships' includes long-term, same-sex partners," Napolitano wrote.
The decision to halt deportations would be considered on a case-by-case basis, the letter explained.
But like the announcement made earlier this year to defer deportation of DREAM Act eligible youth, this policy does not go far enough.
It doesn't even offer work permits or a path to a green card for same-sex partners. They would still be in a legal and work limbo.
Is this a ploy by the Obama Administration to win votes before the election?
There are less than 30,000 couples who would be impacted by this policy. But it is another sign that Obama supports gay marriage even though it is not recognized by the federal government under the 1996 Defense of Marriage Act.
Still this could earn the president more support in the gay community around election time. In May, President Obama became the first sitting U.S. president to declare support for the legalization of same-sex marriage.
As the election draws closer, it is important that all voices be heard and all people represented by their government.
This is a step in that direction.