Left Out of Immigration Reform, LGBT Advocates Demand Inclusion

LGBT rights groups expressed disappointment on Tuesday that gay and lesbian families were left out of a long-anticipated comprehensive immigration reform bill.

Marc-frederic“We’re disappointed that we’re not in the base but we’ve always known that our best shot would be at the committee level,” said Fred Sainz, spokesman for the Human Rights Campaign. “The goal is to get into the underlying bill. How that happens is not as important as the fact that it happens.”

(image via stop the deportations)

Immigration Equality writes:

As we anticipated, however, the base bill does not include the Uniting American Families Act. (A “base bill” is the first version of the legislation, before any lawmakers have an opportunity to make amendments, or changes, to the language.)

UAFA’s exclusion renders the bill incomplete. It is not comprehensive and is does not reflect the values or diversity of our country. Senators on the Judiciary Committee must allow a full and open amendment process that provides an opportunity to add UAFA as an amendment during that process.  We need a majority of Committee members to support adding UAFA to the bill. This means the time is NOW to contact Judiciary Committee Senators and demand they vote for UAFA during the amendment process.

We will not give Senators of either party a pass on the inclusion of our families in immigration reform. We are watching – and we will remember – which lawmakers stand with us, and which stand to the side, when this critical vote happens. The Judiciary Committee includes Senators from states with full marriage equality, such as New York, Vermont, Connecticut and Iowa. Other states represented on the Committee – California, Texas and Arizona – are home to large numbers of LGBT binational families.

26 LGBT rights groups signed a statement of solidarity on the legislation including the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force; GLAAD; the National Center for Lesbian Rights (NCLR); the Queer Undocumented Immigrant Project (QUIP), a project of the United We Dream Network; National Queer Asian Pacific Islander Alliance (NQAPIA); and Immigration Equality.

“The current broken system hurts, scapegoats and vilifies all immigrants, including LGBT immigrants, and their friends and families. Comprehensive federal immigration reform is an urgent priority for our nation and the LGBT community,” said Kate Kendell, executive director of the National Center for Lesbian Rights.

Read the statement and the groups that have signed on here.

H_obamaSaid Obama in a statement:

"This afternoon, Senators Schumer and McCain briefed me on the bipartisan immigration reform bill that they have drafted with their colleagues in the Senate. This bill is clearly a compromise, and no one will get everything they wanted, including me. But it is largely consistent with the principles that I have repeatedly laid out for comprehensive reform. This bill would continue to strengthen security at our borders and hold employers more accountable if they knowingly hire undocumented workers. It would provide a pathway to earned citizenship for the 11 million individuals who are already in this country illegally. I urge the Senate to quickly move this bill forward and, as I told Senators Schumer and McCain, I stand willing to do whatever it takes to make sure that comprehensive immigration reform becomes a reality as soon as possible."


  1. MiddleoftheRoader says

    The ONLY hope is the Senate Judiciary Committee. There are 10 Dems, all progressive-liberal, and all likely supporters of including same-sex families. If we press these Dems to add an amendment, and keep pressing, it’s very likely to happen. There are 8 Republicans, essentially all Neanderthals on gay issues, and so no chance that any of them would vote to include same-sex families (well, there’s a 1% chance that Sen. Flake could vote for us — in private, he’s very gay-supportive, but he’s terrified of the Arizona Tea Party-Conservative-Right Wing nuts in his party).

    So, the bottom line is that if the Senate Judiciary Committee can add a provision for same-sex families, then the full Senate would have to vote to take it out of the bill — unlikely because almost all Dems and a few Republicans won’t do that. Then it will come down to a battle with the House, which will never include same-sex families in its bill. In the end, the Senate will need the backbone to demand — in a conference with the House — that this equality provision must remain in the bill. That’s when we will see whether or not this happens.

  2. David Hearne says

    American men need to stop fetishizing foreigners and dragging their dicks through the gutters of Brazil and Thailand. Jeeze, you would think you’re a bunch of straight military guys bringing home your war brides.

  3. Inis says

    It doesn’t matter what the Congress or President does on this issue.

    The exclusion of gay bi-national married couples from equal treatment under immigration laws will be rendered meaningless the moment the Supreme Court holds Section 3 of DOMA unconstitutional. The vast majority of legal scholars and court-watchers anticipate the court will indeed declare DOMA unconstitutional via one way or another, no later than the end of June.

    Once DOMA is dead, if a bi-national couple is legally married in a state that recognizes same-sex marriage, the Federal government will have no choice but to recognize that marriage as legal, including for immigration purposes.

  4. Ville says

    David Hearne is right. We need to ban all binational marriages and relationships, particularly with those from Brazil and Thailand, since they remind us of war brides who were brought here by American military men (eyeroll). Or you can get out of the bubble that is called the US, and travel the world to see it has to offer you.

  5. David Hearne says

    It’s always amusing that the same people who declare that America is a country of immigrants in one breath, declare that we are insular and ignorant of the world in the next.

  6. David Hearne says

    It would be interesting to see the breakdown of foreign partners of American gay men by country of origin.

    Naturally we would expect a great many American men to be in relationships with illegal aliens from Mexico, given that they are the largest group of illegals. But even then it would be interesting to know which Mexican states are the primary points of origin. While it’s not unusual or surprising to see an American man with a handsome Mario Lopez type, one rarely sees the dashing coupling of an American man and some Mexican hillbilly fresh from the strawberry fields.

    By the same token, for all the worldly and sophisticated gay men we have, such as our own Ville, Mikey, and Kiwi I can honestly say that I have never seen a gay couple on the town featuring an American man (of any ethnicity) and some primitive looking African bushman or South American bosneger.

  7. Derrick from Philly says

    OK, Hagatha Hearne:

    you either missed your nap time or your medication. The staff at the retirement village ought to be notified that you’re on the loose.

  8. Ville says

    Well David, your comments are very ignorant and xenophobic. You make a sweeping statement that gay Americans who are in binational relationships can’t keep their dicks in their pants as they travel through the gutters of Brazil and Thailand. You make a comparison of foreign partners to war brides. Seriously, what is wrong with you? Your lack of empathy and highly judgmental attitudes are astounding. Keep it that way. Must have worked out really well for your life.

  9. Francis #1 says

    People are wrong in thinking everything is solved *if* DOMA section 3 is repealed. Very wrong. It’s alarming actually to see how many LGBT folk are banking on that only. And there’s a fairly good shot DOMA will be punted on anyway, so what are we going to do if that happens?

    We need our legislators to make moves on equality. We need our legislators to have our back. They don’t want to touch our issues. That has to change and it has to change now, and it changes with us making noise.

  10. MateoM says

    David, I’m sure Francis does. As most sane people do. Because we’re not all ridiculous trolls like you. But thanks for playing. See yourself out, thanks.

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