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Immigration Equality Sees Senate Reform Proposal as Unprecedented Opportunity for LGBT Families
photo provided by Bruce-Michael Gelbert
Press Photo
On April 29, United States Senate Democrats Harry Reid, from Nevada; Charles E. Schumer, from New York; and Robert Menendez, from New Jersey, issued a Conceptual Proposal for Immigration Reform, intended to provide guidelines for Congressional immigration reform legislation. The proposal authorizes creation of a Commission on Employment-Based Immigration to "recommend policies that promote economic growth and competitiveness while minimizing job displacement, wage depression and unauthorized employment," and specifies an intent to "eliminate discrimination in the immigration laws by permitting permanent partners of United States citizens and lawful permanent residents to obtain lawful permanent resident status." The organization Immigration Equality (www.immigrationequality.org) sees this as helping to pave the way for LGBT citizens and legal permanent residents to sponsor foreign national partners for residency in this country.

Encouraged by the Senate proposal, Immigration Equality Executive Director Rachel B. Tiven released a statement saying, "Today's inclusive framework is an historic step forward for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender binational families. Now it is time to turn these principles into laws. We will fight to ensure that the Uniting American Families Act is an indelible part of the immigration reform bill." Immigration Equality also suggests that the new proposal will provide guidelines for undocumented students to become American citizens, but interprets its wording about "prompt issuance of a biometric-enabled credential," a national identification card, as potentially troublesome for transgender immigrants, whose documents may contain discrepancies in name and gender that would out them. Tiven added, "Immigration Equality is working for a bill that protects LGBT immigrants who so desperately need reform. The path forward is about keeping families together and building a system that values our country's unique and precious history as a nation of immigrants."

The previous day Tiven and the organization commented on Arizona's new immigration law, "Immigration Equality joins immigrants, families and allies in Arizona and around the country in condemning the state's new anti-immigrant law. The law is unjust, unconstitutional and unconscionable. Everyone of every ethnicity, faith, and sexual orientation should be concerned and appalled that a state has criminalized human beings based on who they are."

"Forty percent of LGBT binational couples in the United States include a Latino family member. For them, and their loved ones, Arizona is now the most dangerous place in America," she continued. "We are confident our courts will strike down this heinous law, and stand in solidarity with all of those who are working for its demise. The need for comprehensive immigration reform that protects all families has never been more urgent, and we are working every day to make it a reality," she concluded.

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