Integrity Legal

21st December 2010

This blog was not very adept at staying on top of the issues surrounding the so-called DREAM Act which would have made a great deal of progress in dealing with issues pertaining to the children of undocumented immigrants wishing to regularize their status in the United States. Recently, it was reported the the DREAM Act legislation was effectively derailed through use of cloture in the United States Senate. The American Immigration Lawyers Association has been working diligently to try to assist in this bill’s passage, but to no avail. To quote directly from the website of AILA:

WASHINGTON, DC – The American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA) is disappointed that, after successful passage in the House, the Senate failed to advance the bipartisan DREAM Act this morning. The legislation did not garner enough votes to overcome a procedural hurdle, even though with 55 votes it had the support of a majority of the chamber’s lawmakers.

“It was with a heavy heart that I watched the DREAM Act deferred to yet another Congress. After the historic House victory and the tremendous outpouring of grassroots support for this legislation that would help deserving young people, today’s failed cloture vote is a wrong-headed dénouement,” said AILA President David Leopold who watched the legislative proceedings from Capitol Hill.

“It was sad to see some U.S. Senators putting politics before principles to vote no on cloture, thereby attaching their names to the wrong side of history. The DREAM Act did not pass today, but inevitably it will be law.”

The DREAM Act’s failure is disappointing for many, but there are those who still believe that the most pressing issue in the realm of United States Immigration is that of the Uniting American Families Act (UAFA). Passage of this legislation would alleviate the current restrictions placed upon same sex or LGBT bi-national couples who wish to be reunited in the USA. Under the provisions of the so-called “Defense of Marriage Act” (DOMA) same sex couples, even those lawfully married in a jurisdiction within the United States of America, cannot obtain the same family based visa benefits compared to their different sex counterparts. There are many who seem to feel somewhat frustrated by the fact that other legislation such as the DREAM Act has gained traction on Capitol Hill while legislation such as UAFA, or legislation which includes  UAFA-like language, has not garnered such substantial support. To quote from a posting posted prior to the DREAM Act’s Senate vote by Melanie Nathan on the Lezgetreal.com blog:

The US has yet to enact laws that will prevent gay and lesbian couples from having to exile to stay with foreign partners or from partners facing deportation.  The discrimination in the USA is based on the fact that same-sex partners are specifically excluded from Federal rights – such as the right to sponsor a spouse for a green card, because of the Defense of Marriage Act. (DOMA)

There are some who would argue that DOMA violates the notions of state sovereignty and individual civil liberties enshrined in the US Constitution and Bill of Rights by depriving US Immigration benefits to LGBT couples while granting them to different sex couples. Bearing this in mind, it ought to be noted that the States’ Rights arguments in favor of overturning DOMA became much more potent after some American States began recognizing and solemnizing same sex unions. There are some who feel that the final decision in this matter may ultimately be made by the US Supreme Court as cases are currently proceeding through the US judicial system which could overturn DOMA. It still remains to be seen whether DOMA will remain in force, be circumvented through use of UAFA, or be overturned by the US Courts. In any case, there are many who hope that some sort of solution arrives soon as many bi-national families remain separated as a result of DOMA’s continued enforcement.

For related information please see: LGBT Visa.


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