People in Arizona who are concerned with LGBT rights and immigration issues may be disturbed to learn about a Trump administration policy announcement concerning diplomatic visas for the same-sex domestic partners of foreign diplomats. The administration ordered unmarried domestic partners to marry before the end of 2018 or lose their visas and ability to stay in the country. The policy would apply to foreign diplomats and United Nations employees, whose unmarried same-sex partners were given until Dec. 31 to show proof of marriage to the State Department.

According to the U.S. mission to the United Nations, the policy is merely an update to international visa practices that reflects existing U.S. law and the legality of same-sex marriage. Same-sex marriage was legalized throughout the country in 2015 in a Supreme Court ruling and, since then, policy has required that new diplomatic visas only be issued to married spouses. However, human rights advocates criticized the move, even if the U.S. claims to treat opposite-sex and same-sex spouses equally in visa policies.

In countries without marriage equality, they warned that people could face persecution or even criminal charges if their U.S. marriage is discovered. Only 12 percent of United Nations member states currently recognize same-sex marriage. Some warned that people may be forced to choose between separating their families and a diplomatic career. According to journalists, there are at least 10 U.N. employees who will be affected by the policy change.

While this issue may only apply to a small number of non-immigrant visas, many immigrants across the country are concerned about Trump administration rhetoric and policy changes surrounding immigration. An immigration lawyer can help people who are facing a wide range of issues, including asylum applications, green card approval, and deportation defense.