Skip to Main Content

Need help understanding your rights as an LGBTQ+ person or someone living with HIV? Visit our virtual Help Desk.

Amicus brief criticizing the denial of immigration relief for the wife of a U.S. citizen.


Lambda Legal filed a friend-of-the-court brief with the Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA), supporting Cristina Ojeda and Monica Alcota, a bi-national, married lesbian couple. Alcota, an Argentine immigrant, met Ojeda, a U.S. citizen, in 2008, and the two have been in a committed relationship for three years, marrying in Connecticut on August 27, 2010. As the spouse of a U.S. citizen, Alcota should be legally entitled to immigration protection under the Immigration and Nationality Act. However, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services denied Alcota's right to immigration protection, citing the so-called Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), which bans federal recognition of marriages between same-sex spouses. In the brief, Lambda Legal urges the BIA to close or postpone pending immigration cases involving same-sex couples until legal challenges over DOMA's constitutionality are settled.


  • December 2011  Victory! Immigration officials agreed to administratively close this case.

  • September 2010 Cristina Ojeda files a Petition for Alien Relative (Form I-130) on behalf of Monica Alcota, seeking immigration protection for her spouse.
  • May 2011 U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services denies the petition citing DOMA.
  • July 2011 Lambda Legal files amicus brief in support of Ojeda and Alcota.