HRC Blog

CBP Proposes New Procedures to Help End Discrimination against LGBT Families

Today the U.S. Customs and Border Patrol (CBP) announced a proposed change to its policies for processing families re-entering the United States after traveling abroad.  When returning from abroad, individuals must complete a customs declaration form detailing all purchases made abroad prior to re-entering the United States.  Families traveling together are eligible to complete a single customs declaration form.  However, under the current policy, same-sex couples and their children are not considered to be “family” for the purposes of the form.  The failure of the current policy to accurately recognize LGBT families has resulted in confusion and delays, both for families and for CBP officers.  This policy also communicates the harsh message to children and their parents that despite meeting all of the practical requirements, they are not a real family. 

The Notice of Proposed Rulemaking announced today expands the meaning of “members of a family residing in one household” for the purposes of filing the form to more accurately reflect the relationships between travelers.  The proposed policy change will ensure that children of same-sex parents are recognized as members of the family regardless of adoption status.  Also, the proposed change will acknowledge individuals in committed relationships, for example long-time companions, and couples in civil unions or domestic partnerships, within the definition of “family.” 

Today’s announcement is an important step forward  in ensuring that all US citizens and their families are welcomed home with the respect and recognition they deserve.  Get more information and read the Notice of Proposed Rulemaking.  

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