Integrity Legal

24th April 2010

Many Americans are aware of the recent legislative changes enacted by the United States Congress with the support of President Obama. Recently, a blogger discussed this legislation:

“Having now accomplished Health Care Reform, it is apparent that President Obama has acquired the momentum and political capital to fuel the leadership necessary to fulfill the next campaign promise, that of  immigration reform.  Why then are our congressional leaders still asserting impossible?”

What is this so-called “impossible” legislative task that this writer is concerned about? Put simply, it is equal immigration rights for those bi-national couples of the same sex. Recently, Congressional Representative Gutierrez introduced a Comprehensive Immigration Reform bill, but many in the LGBT immigration community are unhappy with the Bill in its current form:

“Rep Gutierrez’s Bill, however, snubbed gay and lesbian couples, much to the upset of the LGBT community and bi-national same-sex couples, by failing to attach UAFA, the Uniting American Families Act, H.R. 1024, S. 424) a U.S.Immigration and Nationality Act to eliminate discrimination in the immigration laws against gay couples seeking spousal/ partner sponsorship for green cards,  as a critical component to his version of comprehensive immigration reform.  Is he thinking that we should not have immigration equality?  Is he going to attach UAFA later in the process? Does he think UAFA should be a stand-alone Bill.”

UAFA, or the Uniting American Families Act, is an important piece of hotly debated legislation in the United States that, if enacted, would provide immigration benefits to the same sex “permanent partners” of American Citizens and Lawful Permanent Residents. US Congressman Jerrold Nadler has be a strong proponent of UAFA and immigration rights for the “permanent partners” of American Citizens and Lawful Permanent Residents. Exactly what the term “permanent partner” means is left open to further debate, but presently a debate is raging over placing the provisions of UAFA into a Comprehensive Immigration Reform Bill:

“Nadler asserted that this would be the only way – for UAFA to pass- and that would be via passage with a larger immigration reform bill.  The votes would need to be 217 in the House and at least 51 in the Senate.  Congressman Nadler has led the fight for UAFA and is highly respected by activists and the LGBT community, reputed to be one of the most dedicated in the fight for immigration equality.  His ideas are to be trusted and his leadership followed.”

If Representative Nadler believes that same sex visas for bi-national permanent partners will ultimately come to fruition through use of a broader legislative vehicle, then this author is inclined to believe that this is the truth. However, when that broader legislative action will come about remains to be seen.


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