Today a Binational married lesbian couple (names private) attended Senator Gillibrand’s meet and greet at the LGBT Center in NYC. They went armed with a letter setting out their dire circumstances, including reference to the unconscionable detention suffered by one of the spouses.
After asking the pertinent question about the passage of Uniting American Families Act (UAFA) and its relationship to comprehensive Immigration reform (CIR) , the Senator spoke specifically of an integrated approach. Privy to this information through my advocacy on behalf of this particular couple I was told- “Meeting with Sen. Gillibrand was great; she’s indeed a great advocate for the LGBT community. She seems a very authentic person, genuine, kind and responsive, sensitive to all matters regarding LGBT issues. The Senator referred to Sen. Schumer who is writing the bill. She also said that CIR and UAFA should be on the table by the end of this year, so it can be passed by spring. She stressed the fact that it is important to have things dealt with before March. They’re going for an integrated approach.”
This may be interpreted to confirm that CIR will in fact include UAFA, when introduced by Senator Schumer. However in August of 2009, when I asked Julie Kruse of Immigration Equality why would we be concerned that an overt champion of UAFA and LGBT issues such as Schumer would fail to include LGBT in CIR, she cautioned that there was no guarantee that Senator Schumer would in fact include UAFA. However it would seem that Senator Gillibrand may now be providing some valuable insight as to what we can expect.
That said, we must take heed of the Senator’s most fervent suggestion. We cannot ignore the overt and bland advice when she told her participants today that she recommends we push, push and push for the legislation now. That we write like we have never written before and specifically that we bombard our representatives, urgently. I know out4Immigration is doing an amazing job in the 34th week of their letter writing campaign, but it is not enough and they cannot do it all. We need to hear from our brothers and sisters in the community who may not be directly impacted by this.
The Senator emphasized the importance of Senator Schumer introducing Immigration reform legislation by year’s end; and the fact that it is imperative that the legislation passes by Spring 2010, the latter in her estimation possibly being a last opportunity.
I challenge every single person reading this, regardless of whether their rep is supportive or not of the Uniting American Families Act, to get 5 members of your community, friends, family to write and simply as follows: “Where do you stand on Uniting American Families Act and will you support it in comprehensive immigration reform. What are you doing to ensure this legislation passes before the Spring.” That’s all you have to do!!!
At the moment though, everybody is focused on DADT (Don’t Ask Don’t Tell) as priority and that seemed to dominate the conversation, especially given that Lt. Dan Choi was there to introduce the Senator.
A community, advocates and activists, thank Senator Gillibrand for holding the meet and greet on this perfect Sunday. In doing so she clearly displays her championship of our equality and that there is a good chance she could step forward to lead the more timid amongst our allies
Blogged by MELANIE NATHAN, CEO of Private Courts, Inc. Communications, public policy consulting, mediation & private advocacy; motivated by injustice, I blog about family, law, mediation, politics, news and LGBT equality and anything that ‘tickles my fancy.’ Otherwise blogging as O-blog-dee-o-blog-da. Websites and blogs include: http://www.privatecourts.com; http://www.divorcemediators.us; www.oblogdeeoblogda.wordpress.com. Contact Nathan@privatecourts.com