WASHINGTON – Following the introduction of the “Border Security, Economic Opportunity, and Immigration Modernization Act” in the Senate by Senators Schumer (D-NY), McCain (R-AZ), Durbin (D-IL), Graham (R-SC), Menendez (D-NJ), Rubio (R-FL), Bennet (D-CO) and Flake (R-AZ), Chad Griffin, President of the Human Rights Campaign, the nation’s largest lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender civil rights organization issued the following statement:
“The bill introduced by the Senate’s Gang of Eight brings us one step closer to the historic immigration reform this country desperately needs. From a groundbreaking pathway to citizenship, to a lasting solution for the young DREAMers hopeful for a future in this country, to much-needed reform for asylum-seekers, this bill will change millions of lives for the better.
“But as immigration reform reaches the Senate Judiciary Committee, there is work left to do. As drafted, the bill omits reforms that would end discrimination against tens of thousands of binational gay and lesbian couples. Currently, committed couples like Santiago Ortiz and Pablo Garcia from New York City are stuck in legal limbo because gay or lesbian couples are denied a chance to obtain relationship-based permanent residence.”
“Judiciary Committee Chairman Leahy has been an outspoken champion of the legislative fix to this problem, the United American Families Act (UAFA, S. 296). This bipartisan legislation, also sponsored by Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME), deserves a vote in the Senate Judiciary Committee as an amendment to the immigration bill.”
“Failing to act on UAFA would stand in stark contrast to this bill’s unprecedented inclusivity. As we stand at the crossroads of history, leaving anyone out weakens the moral authority of this once-in-a-generation legislation. No one should be forced to live in the shadows of society.”
The Human Rights Campaign is America’s largest civil rights organization working to achieve lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender equality. By inspiring and engaging all Americans, HRC strives to end discrimination against LGBT citizens and realize a nation that achieves fundamental fairness and equality for all.