Senate Judiciary Committee to Hold First Hearing on the Uniting American Families Act Next Wednesday
May 28, 2009
Next Wednesday the Senate Judiciary Committee which is chaired by Senator Patrick Leahy (D-VT) will hold the first Congressional hearing on the Uniting American Families Act (UAFA). The bill would allow citizens and legal residents in same-sex relationships to sponsor their partners for immigration purposes. The hearing will take place on Wednesday, June 3rd at 10 a.m. in Room 226 of the Dirksen Senate Office Building. HRC has been working closely with Senator Leahy's office to prepare for the hearing. The witness list has not yet been finalized but will include couples separated, and facing separation, because of discriminatory immigration policies, as well as immigration law experts and civil rights leaders. The Uniting American Families Act, first introduced in the House in the 106th Congress as the "Permanent Partner Immigration Act," is sponsored by Senator Patrick Leahy (D-VT) in the Senate and Representative Jerrold Nadler (D-NY) in the House. This crucial legislation would remedy the injustice wrought by the current inequality in our nation's immigrations laws and allow U.S. citizens and permanent residents to sponsor their same-sex partners (called "permanent partners" in UAFA) for family-based immigration. Approximately 36,000 bi-national same-sex couples are affected by the current inequality in U.S. immigration law. For too long Congress has ignored the heart-wrenching real-life consequences of these laws. Thousands of lesbian and gay couples live in constant fear of being stopped by officials who demand to see documentation and threaten detention, fines or deportation. That is why HRC has been working hard to educate Members of Congress on the importance of this issue. We have been lobbying fair-minded legislators working with our allies to raise the visibility of these families. This hearing is a welcome step forward for the Uniting American Families Act and we commend Senator Leahy for holding a hearing on this important legislation. A live webcast of the hearing will be available Wednesday.