HRC Blog

Senators Include Protections for Bi-National Lesbian and Gay Families in Immigration Reform Proposal

Today, Senators Reid (D-NV), Schumer (D-NY) and Menendez (D-NJ) began circulating a draft proposal for immigration reform which includes a provision to allow U.S. citizens and legal residents to sponsor their same-sex partners for residency. The provision suggests eliminating “discrimination in the immigration laws by permitting permanent partners of United States citizens and lawful permanent residents to obtain lawful permanent resident status.” Throughout the 111th Congress, and many congressional sessions before, HRC has advocated for passage of the United American Families Act (UAFA), which would ensure immigration rights for same-sex couples. Like UAFA, today’s proposal for immigration reform would address our government’s failure to recognize lesbian and gay families for immigration purposes. Currently, same-sex partners of U.S. citizens and permanent residents are not considered “spouses” under federal law, and their partners cannot sponsor them for family-based immigration. This wreaks havoc on the lives of the American citizens who fall in love with non-citizens and the children who fear being deprived of one of their parents. Inclusion of the provision in the draft proposal is a great first step. There is a long road ahead. By including the interests of bi-national lesbian and gay families in immigration reform, today’s proposal is a step towards fairer immigration laws in the United States. As Congress moves forward with immigration reform, HRC will continue to urge Congress to provide equal immigration rights for lesbian and gay families.

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