Integrity Legal

13th May 2011

It recently came to this blogger’s attention that a Congressman from the sovereign State of California has recently introduced legislation which is designed to improve the current American immigration system. It would appear that one of the proposed improvements would also provide immigration benefits to same sex bi-national couples. To quote directly from the Washington Blade at WashingtonBlade.com:

A U.S. House member from California on Thursday introduced family immigration legislation that includes language allowing gay Americans to sponsor their foreign partners for residency in the United States. Rep. Mike Honda (D-Calif.) introduced the Reuniting Families Act, which has a provision that would protect bi-national same-sex couples as one of its six prongs to keep families together in the country.

Readers of this web log are strongly encouraged to click upon the hyperlinks above to find out further details on this unfolding story.

This blogger personally found it interesting that this bill would also address grievances held by Lawful Permanent Residents (Green Card holders) and their families. To quote further from the aforementioned article:

In addition to including UAFA-like language, Honda’s legislation would help shorten the wait times that can keep legal immigrants and their overseas loved ones separated for years. The bill would classify spouses and children of permanent U.S. residents as “immediate relatives” and exempt them from numerical caps on immigration.

It is genuinely unfortunate that some find themselves caught up in the immigration process for substantial periods of time awaiting adjudication of their immigration and visa matters.

Those unfamiliar with the provisions of the Uniting American Families Act (UAFA), as recently re-introduced in the Federal legislature by Representative Jerrold Nadler, should note that this legislation would circumvent the current provisions of the so-called “Defense of Marriage Act” (DOMA) which currently separates a large number of bi-national couples since the federal government will not recognize same sex unions for purposes of distributing federal benefits. Upon enactment of legislation similar to that noted above, same sex bi-national couples could be eligible to receive American immigration benefits in the form of travel documents such as the K-1 visa (US fiance visa) or the CR-1 visa (US Marriage Visa). Currently same-sex couples cannot obtain these immigration benefits in the same manner as their different-sex counter parts. This is true in spite of the fact that multiple sovereign American States currently solemnize, legalize, and/or recognize same sex marriage or marital unions. As can be gathered from previous postings on this blog, this state of affairs is questionably Constitutional and for that reason there are currently cases arising in the State of California and the Commonwealth of Massachusetts which would overturn at least portions of DOMA.

It is heartening to see more legislators joining the struggle for further equality in America. Readers and proponents of this legislation can, at this time, only hope that further action will be taken in Washington D.C. to see that the current valid grievances of the LGBT community are redressed.

For those interested in learning more about this legislation please check out the official website of Representative Mike Honda.


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