Washington, D.C.The Immigration Equality Action Fund has praised the introduction of a comprehensive immigration reform bill in the Senate, by Senator Robert Menendez, D-N.J., which includes the Uniting American Families Act ( UAFA ) , a measure to end discrimination against LGBT immigrant families.
"The Immigration Equality Action Fund welcomes Senator Menendez's inclusive legislation, and calls on Congress to pass comprehensive reform, and fix our broken immigration system, immediately," said Rachel B. Tiven, the group's executive director. "This new bill includes numerous, positive developments for LGBT immigrants, including UAFA, the DREAM Act and a pathway to citizenship. All three components are important to ensuring that lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender immigrants are able to contribute fully to our country while keeping their families together. The LGBT community must press for the passage of Senator Menendez's bill, and call on our allies in Congress to support the legislation. This legislation will finally end the obstacles so many familiesboth gay and straightstruggle with every day."
Under current immigration law, lesbian and gay Americans are unable to sponsor their foreign-born partners for residency in the United States. As a result, LGBT binational couples are forced apart, or into exile, by discriminatory immigration laws. UAFAsponsored in the Senate by Senator Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., and in the House by Congressman Jerrold Nadler, D-N.Y.would eliminate that double standard, and apply immigration laws equally to LGBT Americans, and their partners. UAFA is currently co-sponsored by 161 lawmakers in both chambers of Congress.
"It is simply unconscionable that our immigration laws tear families apart," Tiven concluded. "Senator Menendez's legislation, which is a truly comprehensive bill, would provide LGBT families with important opportunities to keep their families together. The bill's introduction is welcome news not just for lesbian and gay Americans, but also their extended families, their communities and our country. The Immigration Equality Action Fund is committed to working for its passage."