Windy City Media Group Frontpage News
Celebrating 30 Years of Gay Lesbian Bisexual and Trans News
home search facebook twitter join
Gay News Sponsor Windy City Times 2017-12-13
DOWNLOAD ISSUE
About WCMG Publications News Index  Entertainment Features Bars & Clubs Calendar Videos Advertisers OUT! Guide    Marriage

Sponsor
Sponsor

  WINDY CITY TIMES

First Ever Hearing on GLBT Immigration Equality
NEWS UPDATE June 3, 2009
by Bob Roehr
2009-06-03

facebook twitter del.icio.us stumble upon digg google +1 reddit email


The US Senate held a first ever congressional hearing on GLBT immigration equality that would stop gay and lesbian families from being torn apart, on June 3.

Sen. Patrick Leahy ( D-Vermont ) introduced the Uniting American Families Act ( S. 424 ) earlier this year; it has 18 cosponsors. The bill would allow same sex couples the same immigration rights as married heterosexual couples. Passage of the bill is likely to be tied to overall immigration reform.

"The preservation of family unity is at the core of our immigration legal system. This American value must apply to all families … Federal policy should encourage rather than restrict our opportunity as Americans to sustain the relationships that fulfill our lives," chairman Leahy said in opening the Senate Judiciary Committee hearing.

He acknowledged the potential for fraud but thought that US immigration officials would be just as capable of identifying fraud committed by homosexuals as that committed by heterosexuals.

Ranking Republican Jeff Sessions ( Alabama ) complained that the bill would constitute "a redefinition of marriage," contrary to the Defense of Marriage Act ( DOMA ) , which was passed in 1996.

"It would create a federal recognition of same sex marriage, which reverses current law." While he acknowledged that people are free to create relationships of their choosing, Congress has decided to "draw the line" at special status only for traditional marriages.

Rep. Jerrold Nadler ( D- New York ) is the lead sponsor of companion legislation in the House ( H.R. 1024 ) , which has 102 cosponsors. He told the committee the current policy "means that tens of thousands of gay and lesbian Americans face a terrible choice between leaving the country to be with the person they love or remaining here in the United States and separating from their partner."

VICTIMS

Shirley Tan's story illustrated that plight. The 43-year old mother of twin boys, 12 and US citizens, spoke of leaving the Philippines as a young woman, falling in love with Jay Mercado, and living in the San Francisco bay area town of Pacifica as a happy, productive family.

She applied for asylum in 1995 a cousin had brutally murdered her mother and sister and she feared for her life when he was released from prison and bureaucratic snafus ensued. She was arrested in January of this year by immigration authorities for ignoring a 2002 deportation letter that she had never received.

Tan remains in the country only through the actions of Rep. Jackie Speier ( D ) , who introduced her at the hearing, and Sen. Dianne Feinstein, whose intervention has delayed her deportation for two years.

Tan's sons broke into tears as she recounted her ordeal and her fears of the family being torn apart if she is forced to leave the country.

That prompted Sen. Leahy to break into her testimony, speaking to the boys saying, "I just want you to know, your mother is a very brave women. You should be very proud."

Gordon Stewart's Brazilian partner Renato was denied reentry to the US in 2003 on a student visa, to continue law school. Stewart commuted to Brazil ever other weekend for a year and a half until his employer, the pharmaceutical company Pfizer, arranged to transfer him to London, where both might live together.

Stewart has had to travel to family events alone as Renato cannot obtain even a tourist visa to visit the US. And last year Stewart sold the family farm in Vermont, where his parents are buried, "because I cannot travel there with Renato … Despite the fact that I am a tax-paying, law-abiding and voting citizen, I feel discrimination from my government."

SUPPORTERS

Julian Bond, the lion of the civil rights movement, threw the support of the National Association of Colored People ( NAACP ) behind the legislation "because the NAACP strongly believes that the definition of 'family is not restrictive and can and should also include non-traditional family units." He is the chairman of the board of the group.

"Too much of the debate [ on immigration reform ] has focused on enforcement and undocumented workers," Bond said the NAACP feels strongly that the focus should be on a reinvigoration of the reunification of families.

Christopher Nugent spoke for the American Bar Association and its support for the bill. "The current failure to recognize same-sex permanent partnership for immigration purposes is cruel and unnecessary," he said.

Opposition came from Roy Beck, founder of NumbersUSA, a grassroots group dedicated to reducing the number of immigrants to the US. He offered what often seemed to be a loopy combination of nativist and environmental arguments against the bill.

The gist of his argument was that immigration is the source of all population growth in the US, as the fertility of native-born is below the rate of replacement. And that is putting an intolerable burden on health and energy services and the environment.

Beck opposed the Bush administration's immigration reform efforts because "it added lots of green cards," the document issued to legal immigrants in the US.

Jessica Vaughan, with the Center for Immigration Studies, worried that creation of the "permanent partner" status would create an administrative and enforcement nightmare for those who have to implement the policy.

She said the bill "is addressing the issue from the wrong direction … The target really should be the Defense of Marriage Act, not the Immigration and Naturalization Act."

OTHER VOICES

Supporter Sen. Charles Schumer ( D-New York ) argued, "What truly engenders fraud is the current broken system that lamentably places binational same sex couples in the dilemma of either being torn apart from their loved ones, or breaking the law." He chose to focus on "the sanctity of preserving the family structure in whatever form it may take."

A sunken-cheeked Sen. Arlen Specter noted that a number of states have moved forward with marriage equality and other forms of partner recognition with a rapidity that could not have been envisioned when DOMA was passed. "I believe it is entirely consistent to [ accord them ] equal standing, as a civil rights issue."

"I think Sen. Leahy's legislation goes in the right direction. I support it." Specter had not previously been a cosponsor of the bill.

"We are delighted that Sen. Specter announced his support," said Rachel B. Tiven, executive director of the group Immigration Equality, which is pushing the issue. She declined to speculate on whether the legislation is more likely to move forward as a separate bill or as part of comprehensive immigration reform.

As to whether the large bill might move without a GLBT inclusive provision, she said, "We are fighting like hell to keep gay and lesbian families where they belong, which is in family immigration reform."


facebook twitter del.icio.us stumble upon digg google +1 reddit email




Windy City Media Group does not approve or necessarily agree with the views posted below.
Please do not post letters to the editor here. Please also be civil in your dialogue.
If you need to be mean, just know that the longer you stay on this page, the more you help us.


  ARTICLES YOU MIGHT LIKE

Trans Lifeline co-founder Chaubal appears before immigration-court judge 2017-12-08
Rally Nov. 16 for release of father with health issues from detention center 2017-11-16
Chicago organizations expose ICE tactics, sue over agency secrecy 2017-11-13
R3 Coalition-CHI event highlights building freedom cities 2017-11-07
Travel Ban Suspended, Muslim LGBT Voices Call Out to be heard 2017-10-24
Attny Gen Madigan sues Homeland Security for failing to open immigration files 2017-10-17
HRC Condemns Expanded Muslim Ban 2017-09-25
TRUST, CAIR hosting storytelling event 2017-09-20
REELING FILM FESTIVAL Nelson Rodriguez tackles immigration, love in 'En Algun Lugar' 2017-09-20
Lambda, allies to Supreme Court: Trump's Muslim ban unconstitutional 2017-09-18
Showbiz news: Todrick Hall, Ellen Page, Jake Gyllenhaal, immigration projects 2017-09-13
Advocates and officials respond to DACA announcement 2017-09-10
Attorney General Madigan joins lawsuit to protect DACA grantees 2017-09-06
Trump administration to end DACA 2017-09-05
LGBT Asian Group Delivers 971 Postcards to Trump Preserve DACA 2017-09-05
Lambda Legal CEO Tiven on Trump Betrayal of Dreamers: Cruel 2017-09-05
Trump considering ending DACA 2017-09-04
Concert benefits LGBTQ refugees 2017-08-27
Sixteen trans, gay Central America migrants seek asylum in U.S. 2017-08-14
Trans, gay Central American migrants to arrive at US-Mexico border seeking asylum 2017-08-11
Asian Pacific Islanders, LGBTQs stand up for sanctuary city policies 2017-08-07
Attorney General Madigan defends Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) 2017-07-21
Groups join to call on IL Chief Justice to halt immigration enforcement in courts 2017-07-19
Madigan launches immigration campaign 2017-06-07
Undocumented and unafraid: Chicagoan speaks out against ICE raids 2017-04-26
Madigan, 16 attorneys general file amicus brief in International Refugee case 2017-04-19
Municipal ID ordinance passes Chicago City Council 44-4 2017-04-19
Crossroads Fund's awards March 31 2017-03-29
Mothers speak against DHS's plan to separate families at the border 2017-03-12
90 Days, 90 Voices calls for stories in response to Trump's new immigration ban 2017-03-06
CHIRLA calls for response to Trump administration mass deportation dragnet 2017-02-21
CTA denies immigration component to Lake View security checks 2017-02-18
More than 75,000 LGBT DREAMers; 36,000 have participated in DACA 2017-02-17
LGBTQs join "A Day Without Immigrants," condemn raids on immigrant communities 2017-02-16
Transgender survivor of domestic violence arrested by ICE in Texas 2017-02-16
Atty Gen Madigan urges Gov. Rauner to fight executive orders, protect immigrants 2017-02-06
Immigration Equality lauds decision halting refugee and Muslim ban 2017-02-04
ACLU of Illinois seeks information on execution of Trump's immigration ban 2017-02-02
ALMA stands against Pres. Trump's immigration, refugee executive orders 2017-02-02
State reps host Syrian refugee forum 2017-02-01
 



Copyright © 2017 Windy City Media Group. All rights reserved.
Reprint by permission only. PDFs for back issues are downloadable from
our online archives. Single copies of back issues in print form are
available for $4 per issue, older than one month for $6 if available,
by check to the mailing address listed below.

Return postage must accompany all manuscripts, drawings, and
photographs submitted if they are to be returned, and no
responsibility may be assumed for unsolicited materials.
All rights to letters, art and photos sent to Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago
Gay and Lesbian News and Feature Publication) will be treated
as unconditionally assigned for publication purposes and as such,
subject to editing and comment. The opinions expressed by the
columnists, cartoonists, letter writers, and commentators are
their own and do not necessarily reflect the position of Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay,
Lesbian, Bisexual and Transegender News and Feature Publication).

The appearance of a name, image or photo of a person or group in
Nightspots (Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times
(a Chicago Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender News and Feature
Publication) does not indicate the sexual orientation of such
individuals or groups. While we encourage readers to support the
advertisers who make this newspaper possible, Nightspots (Chicago
GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay, Lesbian
News and Feature Publication) cannot accept responsibility for
any advertising claims or promotions.

 

 

 

TRENDINGBREAKINGPHOTOS

Sponsor
Sponsor
Sponsor


 



Sponsor

About WCMG Publications News Index  Entertainment Features Bars & Clubs Calendar Videos Advertisers OUT! Guide    Marriage


About WCMG      Contact Us      Online Front  Page      Windy City  Times      Nightspots      OUT! Guide     
Identity      BLACKlines      En La Vida      Archives      Subscriptions      Distribution      Windy City Queercast     
Queercast Archives      Advertising  Rates      Deadlines      Advanced Search     
Press  Releases      Event Photos      Join WCMG  Email List      Email Blast     
Upcoming Events      Todays Events      Ongoing Events      Submit an Event      Bar Guide      Community Groups      In Memoriam      Outguide Categories      Outguide Advertisers      Search Outguide      Travel      Dining Out      Blogs      Spotlight  Video     
Classifieds      Real Estate      Place a  Classified     

Windy City Media Group produces Windy City Queercast, & publishes Windy City Times,
The Weekly Voice of the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Trans Community,
Nightspots, Out! Resource Guide, and Identity.
5315 N. Clark St. #192, Chicago, IL 60640-2113 • PH (773) 871-7610 • FAX (773) 871-7609.