Immigration laws make it doubly difficult for foreign-born partners to remain in the U.S. Gary and Michael have been together for more than 29 years, but the life they've built could be undone in an instant. Gary is an illegal immigrant, and he's HIV-positive. If Gary, 47, and Michael, 60, were a man and a woman, they could marry and Gary could then apply for legal residence right away. But federal authorities don't recognize same-sex marriage. If Gary had been an illegal immigrant by 1986, he could have gained amnesty under immigration reforms enacted that year. But he was here legally until 1996, by which time changes in immigration law changes made it virtually impossible for him to remain here legally.
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