I am a US Citizen. My partner is an illegal immigrant from Mexico. He has been here in the US for 7 years, arriving when he was 15 years old. Because gay marriage is not legal in the United States, what are the implications if we registered as domestic partners in the State of Washington. Would this put him in danger, or would this be a benefit for us?
2 Answers from Attorneys
Unfortunately, USCIS does not recognize gay marriages as valid marriages for immigration purposes, even if the marriage is recognized by your state. Gay marriage spouses or partners are not eligible for immigration sponsorship as family members (as a spouse). Registering as domestic partners, in and of itself, would not put your partner in danger or benefit him for immigration purposes.
If you would like to discuss this topic further, please contact me.
While I agree with the prior author that for purposes of federal immigration law, registering as domestic partners here in Washington does nothing for or against your partner's legal status, as a family law practitioner in Washington, I can say that the domestic partner registration has several benefits under state law that you should look into.
For example, if you die without a will, or if you current will is void, or there are benefits not dealt with in your will because they did not exist until after the will was written, then under state law, your registered domestic partner would stand to inherit at least a portion of such assets, whereas if you are not registered domestic partners, that person gets nothing.
There are also medical decisions such as organ donation in the event you are incapacitated and brain dead, access to you in a hospital, etc., that only spouses or registered domestic partners can deal with, otherwise, it falls to the next closest blood relative.
Additionally, in the event your relationship falls apart, have a registered domestic partnership offers protections for both parties when it comes to determining how to divide assets and debts accumulated during the registered domestic partnership.
Best of luck to you and I hope this helps. If you require further information, please feel free to get in touch with me for a consultation.