Reiterating previous statements, Homeland Security officials said Friday that a same-sex relationship with a U.S. citizen could help delay the deportation of a foreigner.

While they won’t get a complete pass, binational gay and lesbian couples are generally to be considered a low priority in comparison to convicted criminals and other high-priority cases, said Homeland Security spokesperson Marsha Catron.

But so long as DOMA is the law of the land, it’s a murky—and scary—situation for couples who straddle the border: “Homeland Security will continue to comply with a 1996 law that prohibits the government from recognizing same-sex relationships,” writes the AP, “even as it takes these relationships into consideration when evaluating possible deportation.”

Nancy Pelosi has requested the department put its policy in writing and send it to Immigration and Customs Enforcement offices to make sure its followed. “We look forward to the written guidance that we expect would be a logical next step,” said Pelosi spokesman Drew Hammill.

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