The Obama administration publicly announced Monday that it has denied immigration rights to Bradford Wells and Anthony John Makk -- a gay couple in San Francisco that has been married for seven years -- and ordered the deportation of Makk to his native Australia, according to SFGate. Makk applied for permanent residency as a spouse of a U.S. citizen when his visa expired, but he was denied, as his same-sex marriage is not federally recognized.
Makk is the primary caregiver to Wells, who suffers from AIDS. The couple has lived together for 19 years and legally married in Massachusetts in 2004.
Although President Obama announced just last month that he would fight to repeal the controversial Defense of Marriage Act that bans same-sex marriage, his administration cited that very act in the decision.
Until the act is repealed, the White House has vowed to enforce it on a case-by-case basis. In this case, Makk has lived in the United States for more than 20 years, owns a San Francisco business, has no criminal history, has never lived here illegally and is the primary caregiver to his husband.
The timing of the deportation is especially stressful for the ailing Wells, who suffers from advanced AIDS and was rushed to the emergency room in June with symptoms of a heart attack, according to SFWeekly. Wells could join Makk in Australia, but he would be forced to give up his medical insurance.
I'm married just like any other married person in this country. At this point, the government can come in and take my husband and deport him. It's infuriating. It's upsetting. I have no power, no right to keep my husband in this country. I love this country, I live here, I pay taxes and I have no right to share my home with the person I married. Anyone can identify with the horror of having the government come in and destroy your family when you've done nothing wrong, and you've done everything right, followed every law.
Makk will be forced to leave the country by August 25.
UPDATE: On Tuesday afternoon, Anthony John Makk and Bradford Wells announced that they will be appealing their Defense of Marriage Act visa denial, as reported by SF Weekly. SF Weekly also reported that Nancy Pelosi has reached out to urge the Obama administration to reconsider the decision. Her office released the following statement: "Leader Pelosi has formally contacted USCIS on behalf of her constituents and will be working to exhaust all appropriate immigration remedies that are currently open to pursue."