HRC Blog

Same-Sex Partners Included in Menendez Immigration Reform Bill

Yesterday, Senator Robert Menendez (D-NJ) introduced  a comprehensive immigration reform (CIR) bill, which reports indicate includes the Uniting American Families Act (UAFA).  UAFA allows United States citizens and permanent residents to sponsor their same-sex partners for family-based immigration. UAFA would provide lesbian and gay individuals the same opportunity as different-sex, married couples to sponsor their partner.  The United States lags behind 19 countries that recognize same-sex couples for immigration purposes: Australia, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Iceland, Israel, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Portugal, South Africa, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland and the United Kingdom.

UAFA, as a standalone bill, was introduced in the 111th Congress by Senator Patrick Leahy (D-VT) in the Senate and by Representative Jerrold Nadler (D-NY) in the House.  On June 3, 2009, the Senate Judiciary Committee held the first-ever congressional hearing on UAFA.  UAFA was also included in the outline of a CIR proposal (known as REPAIR) by Senators Harry Reid (D-NV), Charles Schumer (D-NY) and Robert Menendez that was released on April 29, 2010. Representative Mike Honda (D-CA) included UAFA in the Reuniting Families Act introduced in the House in 2009.  Senator Menendez’s CIR bill marks the first time UAFA has been included in a CIR bill in the Senate.  HRC thanks Senator Menendez for his continued leadership in the Senate on this issue.

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