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Posts Tagged ‘US Transgender Visa’

21st March 2011

It recently came to this blogger’s attention that the Immigration Equality Action Fund Blog is reporting that Americans are calling upon the Department of Homeland Security to change its policy regarding Lawful Permanent Resident status for LGBT spouses of American Citizens and Lawful Permanent Residents. To quote directly from the Immigration Equality Action Fund Blog:

In an interview published last night, Immigration Equality executive director Rachel B. Tiven calls on the Department of Homeland Security to stop denying green card applications filed by spouses of LGBT Americans.

Those who are unaware of the issues surrounding the debate for equal immigration benefits for the LGBT community should note that pursuant to the so-called “Defense of Marriage Act” (DOMA) the United States Federal government is prohibited from granting immigration benefits to same sex bi-national couples even though such benefits are routinely granted to different-sex couples. Meanwhile, a number of sovereign American States have heeded the call of their citizenry and taken measures which would allow legal recognition for marriages between individuals of the same sex. Notwithstanding that a marriage may be legalized and solemnized by a sovereign US State, such as Massachusetts, for example; the Federal government still will not recognize said marriage pursuant to the provisions of DOMA. To quote further from the Immigration Equality Action Fund Blog:

“It is imperative that the administration stop breaking up families based on a law that it says is unconstitutional,” Tiven told reporter Andrew Harmon. “We’re calling on the Department of Homeland Security to stop denying green card applications for the spouses of American citizens.”

As noted above, the result of continued enforcement of DOMA in an immigration context is the constant and continued partition of bi-national families. It would appear as though proponents of equal LGBT rights are hoping that DHS can take some steps to alleviate what is, for some, an increasingly untenable situation. To quote further from the Immigration Equality Action Fund Blog:

Representatives Jerrold Nadler (D-NY) and Zoe Lofgren (D-CA) – both important leaders on LGBT and immigration issues in Congress – joined Immigration Equality’s call for a halt to deportations involving legally married spouses. New York Senator Kirsten Gillibrand also weighed in, telling reporters that, ““The recent news of deportations involving legally married gay and lesbian binational couples is heartbreaking.”

This blogger highly encourages readers to click on the above links to learn more about the Immigration Equality Action Fund and the struggle for equal rights in the LGBT community. It should be noted that Representative Jerrold Nadler has been a strong proponent of legislation such as the Uniting American Families Act (UAFA), legislation designed to provide immigration benefits to same sex bi-national couples.

There have been many sovereign US States that have shown “true grit” in the struggle for equal LGBT rights, privileges, immunities, and protections. States such as Massachusetts, Iowa, Rhode Island, Vermont, New Hampshire, Connecticut as well as the District of Columbia have shown support for the struggle of equal rights for LGBT families. Meanwhile, continued enforcement of the provisions of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) keep bi-national same sex couples from attaining equal immigration benefits when compared to their different-sex counterparts.

The issue of same sex marriage and equal rights for same sex couples is something that some have suggested is a divisive issue, but in this blogger’s opinion it need not be. For example, this blogger comes from a State (the State of Kansas) that explicitly forbids same sex marriage (yes, notwithstanding the State of Kansas’s position on same sex marriage this blogger feels that the right to marry whom one chooses is a civil right guaranteed to individuals under the U.S. Constitution that should be granted to those in Kansas as well as everywhere else in the USA, but the following analysis is primarily concerned with the same sex marriage issue in an interstate context). There are some who argue that this means that the State Courts are barred from recognizing same sex marriages legalized in other States. This blogger would argue that a different interpretation of the Full Faith and Credit Clause would allow a State such as Kansas to acknowledge that a legal marriage between two people of the same sex exists in fact in another American jurisdiction (say, Massachusetts, for example). Concurrently, the provisions of a State Constitution may prohibit any further State recognition or execution of a same sex divorce, but such a scenario is certainly better than the current state of affairs where no same sex couples are granted any type of Federal or interstate marital recognition at all. That said, none of these issues has yet to be fully resolved so any analysis remains speculation.

For related information please see: same sex visas.

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1st October 2010

Those who follow this blog frequently may take note of the fact that the administration carefully follows the issues associated with LGBT Immigration rights in the United States of America. In a recent posting by Melanie Nathan on the website LezGetReal.com it was noted that LGBT immigration legislation may be introduced in the US Congress quite soon:

Sen. Robert Menendez of New Jersey is expected to introduce comprehensive immigration legislation before the Senate adjourns this week for the midterm recess, according to Politico, and a source tells The Advocate that the legislation will be LGBT-inclusive.

In the past, there have been other attempts by Federal legislators to rectify the current legal restrictions placed on LGBT bi-national couples when it comes to the issue of obtaining US Immigration benefits. To continue to quote directly from LezGetReal.com:

There are an estimated 36,000 (minimum the number since the determination in the year 2000 – also not taking account of social media and current increase in internet meeting) Gays and Lesbians who are either American citizens or residents (all referred to as Americans for the purpose of this article,) who are in love and relationship with a foreigner. Gay and lesbians are denied equality under the Federal Immigration laws of this Country, to sponsor same-sex partners or  State recognized spouses for immigration (greencards) to the USA.

LGBT couples (and the appellation LGBT includes Bi-sexual and Transgender couples and individuals as well as Lesbian or Gay couples and individuals) are currently barred from receiving the same family based immigration benefits as different-sex couples. This restriction is imposed pursuant to the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA). DOMA prevents same sex couples (even those lawfully married under state law) from receiving recognition of their marriage in the eyes of the Federal government (and the benefits which may arise therefrom, including immigration benefits such as the K3 visa, CR1 visa, or IR1 visa or in cases where a couple intends to enter into a marriage in the USA: a K1 visa). There are those who argue that application of DOMA violates the doctrine of States’ Rights. At the same time, others point to the violation of the civil rights of the American Citizen (or Lawful Permanent Resident) petitioners whose Constitutional rights may be being violated through continued enforcement of DOMA. That said, the issue remains a highly charged political matter, to quote further from the aforementioned website:

So here we are – a Congress that may well go into lame duck, a Congress that failed to repeal DADT, that showed no compassion for the children of the immigrant DREAM ACT – and a UAFA barely in the conscience of leadership, unknown to mainstream America and also barely in the minds of our lesbian and gay sisters and brothers. The question is are we going to be in the Menendez Bill as a pawn, a promise or yet another wedge that will render Immigration Reform impossible in this political climate.

Remember it IS the American who lacks the Equality – and is being discriminated against.  ALL Americans in committed relationships, except gays and lesbians,  have the right to remain in the USA with the person whom they love.

It is not the immigrant per se, who has the right, as immigration is a privilege afforded a foreigner; it is the American who has the right and it is indeed a Civil Right and a Human Rights issue.

The UAFA noted above is an acronym for the Uniting American Families Act, a bill that has, in different forms, been floating around the US Congress for some time. One of the major proponents of this legislation is Representative Jerrold Nadler who has repeatedly supported and introduced legislation which would give equal immigration rights to LGBT couples. It is interesting that the above cited piece brings up the issue of the American Citizen’s rights with regard to US Immigration matters. Although foreign nationals do not necessarily have the same rights under the US Constitution as Citizens there is no doubt that Americans are protected by the provisions of the Constitution. It is this authors opinion that this situation may very well be ultimately decided by the US Courts rather than the US legislature as there are currently two cases pending in two different circuits which could result in the full or partial repeal of DOMA. With regard to immigration, DOMA compels the US Federal government to restrict US family immigration benefits to different-sex couples. Notwithstanding that jurisdictions such as Massachusetts allow same sex marriage. Therefore, the Federal government may be in violation of the “Full Faith and Credit” Clause of the US Constitution by failing to provide equal immigration benefits to same sex couples married in a jurisdiction in the US where such unions are lawful.

Whether the issue of LGBT immigration rights will ultimately be resolved in the US Courts or the US Congress remains to be seen, but one thing is for sure: the issue has many implications from both a legal and political perspective.

For related information please see: Same Sex Visa.

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