Melanie Nathan – April 14-2011
Congressional advocates for LGBT immigration reform launched a ridiculous strategy on Thursday with the reintroduction of the Uniting American Families Act. The only sensible piece of the strategy being the release of a letter from 48 House members urging the Obama administration in part to suspend deportations faced by married gay spouses. This launch however is little different to the past 16 years of fighting for Reform in the arena of green cards for same sex couples.
The Thursday letter from Rep. Zoe Lofgren of California and Democratic colleagues called on Atty. Gen. Eric Holder and Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano to mitigate the discrimination faced by binational married couples following the administration’s February announcement that it considers the Defense of Marriage Act to be unconstitutional. The 1996 law bars married gay couples from the citizen sponsorship rights afforded heterosexual married couples.
The release of the letter was timed with the reintroduction of UAFA, which would help keep most binational couples together by making family-based immigration inclusive of same-sex partners of U.S. citizens and permanent residents. The reintroduction of the UAFA makes no sense to me and is a derivative of the Immigration Equality lobby and quest for survival of the organization.
1. They already had UAFA caste for success back in 2009 – with a record number of co-sponsors and a majority on both houses with President Obama at the helm. What happened – they tied UAFA to the quest for comprehensive immigration reform (CIR)- spent our donor money on schmoozing immigration Latina groups and landed us in the lame duck session in a rah rah for the DREAM ACT – pursuant to their newfound aliances which served to exclude UAFA from its only possible chance of succeeding as a stand alone Bill;
2. Now the climate is different – while DADT has passed and DOMA is up for repeal – why are we wasting time with UAFA- when in fact DOMA will accomplish much more. We do not need UAFA if DOMA is repealed. Additionally UAFA is not in good shape. Now that marriage is available to same-sex couples in some states, UAFA must change its language from the OLD version – to make way for a more definitive contractual nexus between the parties, otherwise Senator Feinstein will NOT sign on to it. I have explained this concept in numerous articles.
That said instead of pursuing UAFA – all that energy by Immigration Equality and other organizations should rather be put into special interim Visas for Binational couples – Sunset Visas, similar to the R1 Visa Program and Fiance Visas worded differently to use terms like contractual nexus instead of marriage.
I have no doubt unfortunately – that all the gay.in organizations are going to do follow the Pied Piper again and assume that the immigratin equality lobby knows what they are doing. It is up to binational couples to YELL reintroduction of UAFA is not good enough, hopeless and a waste of time.
VIA THe Advocate:- ” Lofgren, ranking member of the House Subcommittee on Immigration Policy and Enforcement, called on the Department of Justice and DHS to suspend deportation proceedings and a put a temporary hold on green card adjudications for gay married couples pending either legal resolution or legislative repeal of DOMA.
“Taking these steps would not flout or disrespect existing law, as it would not provide permanent immigration relief to married couples of the same sex, currently prohibited by Section 3 of DOMA,” Lofgren wrote. “Rather, it would prevent the potentially irreparable harm that would be caused by application of a law that is currently under review by the courts and the U.S. Congress.
“As the country grapples with the question of whether DOMA is constitutional and should be the law of the land,” Lofgren continued, “we ask that you take steps to temporarily preserve the status quo and protect American citizens and their spouses from avoidable harm.”
Lofgren’s letter follows a similar one sent to Holder and Napolitano last week by 12 senators, including John Kerry of Massachusetts and Kirsten Gillibrand of New York, urging relief for such couples.
But thus far the administration appears unwilling to do so. Asked whether DHS has responded to the senators’ letter, DHS spokesman Adam Fetcher told The Advocate in a statement, “The administration will respond to the members of Congress directly. Pursuant to the Attorney General’s guidance, the Defense of Marriage Act remains in effect and the Executive Branch, including DHS, will continue to enforce it unless and until Congress repeals it or there a final judicial determination that it is unconstitutional.”
TIME for some real leadership on the part of LGBT organizations and advocates.
NOTE MY POSITION: I support Comprehensive Immigration Reform. I Support the repeal of DOMA. I applaud the reintroduction of ENDA today. I m angry at the wool over the eyes introduction of UAFA. I want a special VISA NOW for couples in same-sex marriages/ civil Unions/ and fiances.
This administration ought to be ashamed of not having supported and effected this RIGHT before the Republicans took over the House! Advocates in the LGBT organizations – please wake up and change the strategy NOW!