West Hazleton, Pennsylvania has denied a marriage license to an undocumented immigrant who was looking to wed his partner, an American national this week. The ACLU has filed a federal suit on behalf of the couple, stating in a press release:
“This marriage is legal under the law of Pennsylvania and the federal immigration laws,” said Mary Catherine Roper, a staff attorney for the ACLU of Pennsylvania. “The Register of Wills is supposed to issue marriage licenses according to Pennsylvania’s marriage law, not to challenge that law or federal immigration law. Ms. Stankovic has no authority to interfere in people’s lives this way.”
The abovementioned “Ms. Stankovic” (love the name) is the county’s Register of Wills who denied the couple the license.
Before you malpensados start saying that this was a marriage of convenience, the couple has a child and the husband, Jose Guadalupe Arias Maravilla, was already scheduled to be deported. He and his wife knew that the marriage wouldn’t change the deportation order but wanted to marry anyway for the sake of their child.
Philadelphia ACLU’s attorney Catherine Roper told the Times Leader
“The Register of Wills doesn’t get to make up rules. She is supposed to enforce the Pennsylvania marriage law. When you start making up rules that are not on the books, it infringes on people’s rights to be treated equally and you have a constitutional problem,” Roper said.
A federal judge will be looking at the case to see if an injunction can block the Register’s policy.
The nearby city of Hazleton has also been criticized for its harsh anti-immigrant policies, as has the state of Pennsylvania for trying to make English the state’s official language.
Via / ACLU and Times-Leader