The Senate Judiciary Committee passed today the immigration reform bill which, as expected, is lacking any particular LGBT immigration rights protections. A statement from the National Center for Lesbian Rights, GLAAD, National Gay and Lesbian Task Force, United We Dream and Queer Undocumented Immigrant Project, Lambda Legal, Equality Federation and the National Center for Transgender Equality was issued not long after the vote.
In it, the various groups stated “We are disappointed that certain senators threatened the entire immigration reform bill simply because it affords 28,500 same-sex binational couples equal immigration rights.” Unfortunately, when one sets one’s sights on something that is, basically, impossible, the tendency is to be disappointed.
Besides, Senator Leahy has vowed to introduce this in the full Senate. Well, that is if the Supreme Court upholds the Defense of Marriage Act. If they do not, then the whole issue is moot anyway.
The groups have vowed to”remain steadfast in our commitment to passing compassionate, comprehensive immigration reform that will provide a pathway to citizenship for the 11 million undocumented men, women and children living in our country, including at least 267,000 LGBT undocumented immigrants.”
This is good, and could build bridges between the LGBT Community and the groups that have been fighting for immigration reform. Unfortunately, it does little to ensure that there will be passage of this bill in the House.
Part of the problem with the House of Representatives is that they are unlikely to take up anything that will benefit those whose vilification their jobs rely upon. The groups would be best served by getting mobilized and, perhaps, not talking about LGBT Equality. Rather, what is needed is to get boots on the ground in many of these Republican districts to talk about how the Republicans are screwing people over royally. Be armed with facts and quotes.
Like, take on the idea that food stamps amount to stealing from people. Point out to people that there is a desperate need for people to learn just how problematic the ideas that the Republicans are pushing. For instance, Welfare, Medicare, Medicaid, Food Stamps, and other social safety net programs are there to prevent someone who is down on their luck from turning to a life of crime and drug use.
Sure, we need to make sure people can get off of the social safety net by making sure they can get jobs, but the reality is that those programs, if properly maintained, afford a lot to help people. In some ways, the best thing to do is to take what has become the traditional “Liberal” arguments and recraft them so that they fit within the mindset of the Conservative mind.
Here is the press release:
“We remain steadfast in our commitment to passing compassionate, comprehensive immigration reform that will provide a pathway to citizenship for the 11 million undocumented men, women and children living in our country, including at least 267,000 LGBT undocumented immigrants.”
“We are disappointed that certain senators threatened the entire immigration reform bill simply because it affords 28,500 same-sex binational couples equal immigration rights. At the same time, we thank Senator Leahy for standing up for these families. A majority of Americans 53 percent believe that all consenting adults should have the right to get married and that gender should not play a role in who is considered family.
“It is unconscionable that lawmakers committed to equality and commonsense, humane immigration policy were forced to make a false choice between protecting the rights of same-sex binational couples and keeping a tenuous coalition together. This take-it-or-leave-it stance with regard to same-sex binational couples is not helpful when we all share the same goal of passing comprehensive immigration reform that provides a path to citizenship.
“Beyond the issue of same-sex binational couples, the bill addresses many issues that will particularly benefit LGBT people, such as eliminating the one-year bar on applying for asylum, providing protections for DREAMers and improving conditions for people held in detention facilities. These include important protections limiting the use of solitary confinement and explicitly prohibiting the use of this practice based solely on a detainee’s sexual orientation or gender identity. We will continue to work to improve the legislation as we fight for its passage because this bill is a historic step forward for all immigrants and the LGBT community.
“Our primary goal is to pass a commonsense, compassionate immigration reform bill that puts our nation’s undocumented men, women and children on a pathway to citizenship.
“We desperately need to reform our broken immigration system immediately because it dehumanizes, scapegoats and vilifies all immigrants, including LGBT immigrants. We will continue to advocate and support changes to the bill that will create the most accessible pathway to citizenship possible and allow all undocumented immigrants the opportunity to become citizens, and we will continue to ardently oppose draconian amendments that would make immigrants permanent second-class citizens and create undue hardships along a pathway to citizenship.
“Every day we fail to reform our system, 1,100 families are torn apart. As a nation, we pride ourselves on keeping families united, and our immigration policies should reflect our commitment to keep families together all families.
“We stand firmly that the following principles must be included if we are to truly have comprehensive immigration reform legislation:
Provide a pathway to citizenship;
Ensure that family unity is at the heart of immigration law and policy;
End unjust detentions and deportations;
Uphold labor and employment standards, and ensure that the enforcement of immigration law does not undermine labor and employment rights;
Promote a dignified quality of life for border communities by ensuring border agencies uphold basic civil and human rights protections; and
Ensure immigrant members of our community are not relegated to second-class status with fewer rights and benefits.”