Sunday, April 3, 2011

US again denies visas to same-sex couples

After a brief reprieve, immigration authorities are once again denying applications for immigration benefits for same-sex couples.

After a review by Department of Homeland Security lawyers, it was concluded that a law prohibiting the government from recognizing same-sex marriages must be followed, despite the Obama administration’s decision to stop defending the constitutionality of the law in court, said Chris Bentley, a spokesman for US Citizenship and Immigration Services.

The law, the Defense of Marriage Act, defines marriage as between a man and a woman.

Earlier this week, the agency said applications from foreigners married to US citizens of the same sex would be held in “abeyance’’ while the legal review proceeded. Bentley said Tuesday that the temporary hold on application decisions was not a change in policy.

In February, the government announced it would no longer defend the law


Majority of Italians against hosting North African immigrants

The majority of Italians are against hosting in their country the thousands of North African immigrants who are currently being transferred across the peninsula from the southern island of Lampedusa, according to a survey issued on Friday by online daily.

Over 37 percent of residents are in favor of blocking the refugees before they reach Italian shores and 34 percent say the landed immigrants should be immediately repatriated, while just 29 percent is in favor of hosting them in adequate structures across Italy.

The poll results reflect the humanitarian emergency Italy is facing in the wake of the arrival of over 18,000 immigrants since January, as evacuation plans from Lampedusa proceed at a slow pace.

Italians are divided by territorial belonging. Almost 51 percent of those in the north are against the redistribution of immigrants across the peninsula's 20 regions as envisaged by the government's plan, while all southern residents, who bear the greatest burden of hosting the immigrants, demand shared responsibilities.

On the whole, over 80 percent of Italians criticize the government's handling of the immigration emergency triggered by the North African crises, saying more had to be done to prevent the mass arrivals of refugees.


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