Main | Thursday, July 15, 2010

WASHINGTON: House Democrats Pledge LGBT-Inclusive Immigration Reform

U.S. House Democrats held a joint press conference with major LGBT and immigrant groups this morning to restate their support for a comprehensive immigration reform bill that provides for the equal treatment of LGBT couples.
Democrats from the Congressional Hispanic Caucus, Congressional Black Caucus, Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus, Congressional Progressive Caucus, and Congressional LGBT Equality Caucus were joined by a coalition of 37 immigration, LGBT, and faith advocacy groups in support. The Congressional speakers, particularly Luis Gutierrez (IL), Jerrold Nadler (NY), Jared Polis (CO), and Mike Honda (CA) expressed confidence that a bill that included equal treatment of LGBT bi-national couples would be passed this term. According to Immigration Equality, 36,000 bi-national couples in the United States face imminent or future separation because the US citizen of same-sex couples cannot, like those in heterosexual married couples, sponsor their partner for citizenship.
The top three evangelical groups say they support immigration reform, but will block any attempt to include LGBT provisions. The Southern Baptist Convention, the National Association of Evangelicals, and the National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference all vow that they will derail any reform bill that incorporates the Uniting American Families Act, which provides immigrant status to the partners of gay American citizens.


Immigration Equality:
"Every day that Congress fails to take action, American families are separated or forced into exile, including more than 17,000 families raising young children," said Rachel B. Tiven, executive director of Immigration Equality. "For those families, and their loved ones, today's clear call to action, from key Congressional champions, could not be more welcome or more timely. We are proud to stand with those leaders, and with immigrants and their families across our country, in working to fix our broken immigration system. The LGBT community can be a steadfast partner in that effort, and Immigration Equality is proud to mobilize allies in support of inclusive immigration reform."
Equality California:
“We are grateful that this powerful coalition is standing together to help fix our broken immigration system. California’s elected leaders have already endorsed the Uniting American Families Act, urging our U.S. Congressional leaders to act quickly to end the grave inequities facing binational couples and their families. We hope this vital legislation passes soon, so that no more families headed by same-sex couples are torn apart.”
National Gay & Lesbian Task Force:
“The U.S. has 12 million undocumented immigrants, including at least half a million lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people. Thousands of binational same-sex couples and their families have been kept separated or forced to live abroad. This discriminatory practice is unfair and inhumane. No one should ever have to choose between their partner and their country or be denied the freedom to be with their families. UAFA is consistent with U.S. immigration law's existing policy of keeping families intact. We thank the members of Congress standing for equality today and for supporting the inclusion of LGBT families in all future comprehensive immigration reform efforts.”
Human Rights Campaign:
“Our nation should bring families together, not tear them apart, yet same-sex, bi-national couples are too often forced to separate because the government views them as strangers under the law. For far too long, leaders have ignored the devastating real-life consequences for these couples imposed by our current immigration policies. Family reunification is a primary goal of our immigration system but our government fails to accomplish this basic objective for thousands of loving same-sex couples.”

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