LGBT organizations reacted yesterday to statements by Republican senators that comprehensive immigration reform would be put in jeopardy by the addition of provisions for LGBT families. A coalition of groups released a statement. HRC released another.
"Our primary goal is to pass a commonsense, compassionate immigration reform bill that puts our nation's undocumented men, women and children on a pathway to citizenship. That pathway would provide at least 267,000 LGBT undocumented people the opportunity to become full participants in our economy and our democracy.
"We do not believe that our friends in the evangelical faith community or conservative Republicans would allow the entire immigration reform bill to fail simply because it affords 28,500 same-sex couples equal immigration rights. This take-it-or-leave-it stance with regard to same-sex binational couples is not helpful when we all share the same goal of passing comprehensive immigration reform that provides a path to citizenship.
"We all deserve a chance to live with dignity, to pursue our dreams, and to work for a better future and better quality of life.
"Our current immigration system is broken. It dehumanizes, scapegoats and vilifies all immigrants, including LGBT immigrants, and their friends and families. Comprehensive, compassionate immigration reform is an urgent priority for our nation and the LGBT community.
"We stand firmly that the following principles must be included if we are to truly have comprehensive immigration reform legislation:
· Provide a pathway to citizenship.
· Ensure that family unity remains at the heart of immigration law and policy.
· End unjust detentions and deportations.
· Uphold labor and employment standards and ensure that the enforcement of immigration law does not undermine labor and employment rights.
· Promote a dignified quality of life for border communities by establishing oversight mechanisms to ensure border agencies uphold basic civil and human rights protections.
· Ensure immigrant members of our community are not relegated to permanent second-class status."
"The idea that lesbian and gay couples are the barrier to a bipartisan immigration reform agreement is an offensive ruse designed to distract attention away from the failings of Congress -- a body that refuses to come together on popular and common-sense solutions to a host of our country's problems.
"When examining the facts, it is clear that LGBT equality is not the controversial, hot-button issue that a handful of legislators portray it to be. Marriage equality continues to advance in the states and polls show super-majority support for everything from workplace non-discrimination laws to anti-bullying protections. Moreover, a broad coalition of religious groups, labor organizations, businesses and civil rights groups support the inclusion of same-sex bi-national couples in a comprehensive reform bill.
"This bluster is nothing more than a political maneuver designed to divide the pro-reform coalition and at the same time appease a small but vocal group of social conservatives that will do anything to stop progress for lesbian and gay couples. The LGBT community will not stand for Congress placing the blame of their own dysfunction on our shoulders."