Tuesday, May 07, 2013
Senator Patrick Leahy (D-VT) has filed two amendments to include same-sex binationals in immigration reform legislation.
The first amendment is the Uniting American Families Act (UAFA), which has thus far proven controversial because of its language that technically creates a new category for immigration officials to consider: "permanent partner".
The second amendment filed by Leahy is one that calls for immigration reform to include married same-sex couples. That's right - if you have entered into a marriage in a state, country or jurisdiction (i.e., Washington D.C.) where it is legally recognized, then this amendment says you should have the right to equal treatment under immigration law to have that marriage recognized.
Read all about the Leahy amendments at Buzzfeed: http://www.buzzfeed.com/chrisgeidner/leahy-files-amendments-to-include-gay-couples-in-immigration
To paraphrase some leading advocates, Lavi Soloway of the DOMA Project calls Leahy's strategy with the second amendment "a strategic master stroke". The vice president of the Human Rights Campaign, Fred Sainz, calls it "brilliant."
With more than 50 Senators from both parties supporting marriage equality, asking that our marriages be recognized for immigration purposes makes sense. And, hopefully it will help more of them, like Sen. Dianne Feinstein who sits on the judiciary committee and will vote on this amendment, understand why we also need UAFA language. Because we still only have marriage equality in a handful of states. Because we still do not know which way DOMA and the Prop. 8 cases will be ruled on by the Supreme Court. Because same-sex binationals, already suffering extreme financial hardship after years of trying to keep our families together with no legal safety net whatsoever, should not be forced to make an expensive trip to a state or country that will marry us because of continued discrimination in a home state.
Here's our action, please make two calls:
1) Sen. Leahy, at 202-224-4242, and thank him for recognizing and including same-sex binational families in immigration reform.
2) Sen. Feinstein, at 415-393-0707 and ask her to please vote "Yes" on both of Sen. Leahy's amendments to include same-sex binational families in immigration reform. (You do not have to live in California to make this call).
If you use Twitter, please follow @Out4Immigration at https://twitter.com/out4immigration
We've been tweeting up a storm and every retweet counts and helps us spread the word.
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We need to keep our stories front and center in the coming weeks to make sure that we are included in immigration reform. Because we cannot predict how the Supreme Court will rule. Anything less than total removal of DOMA and marriage equality in all 50 states means we still need the amendments filed by Sen. Leahy included in the immigration bill.
And, quite frankly, we will all still need this broken system to be overhauled and fixed. Because even in the best case scenario, the death of DOMA, all of us same-sex binationals will have just been let into the very system we have fought so hard to be a part of. We'll be wanting it to work properly so that our green cards are processed without delay.