Target: Senator Leahy and members of the U.S. Senate
Goal: Protect the rights of same-sex couples in U.S. immigration proceedings.
Senator Patrick Leahy has recently reintroduced an amendment to Congress’ immigration reform plan that would extend protection of same-sex couples’ rights. When the Senate Judiciary Committee was considering the Gang of Eight’s immigration bill this past May, Leahy was compelled to withdraw the measure after several Republicans threatened to vote against the bill if it included protections for same-sex couples. Now that the bill has been approved for debate on the Senate floor, Leahy has refiled the amendment because, as he states, “The fight for equality must go on.”
If the amendment is passed, same-sex immigrant and binational couples would be considered a family unit within immigration proceedings. It would allow married same-sex couples to apply for a visa the same way heterosexual married couples do. Protection would be extended to over 24,000 binational couples, 11,700 immigrant couples, and countless couples where one partner is an undocumented immigrant. These couples would no longer have to fear having their lives ripped apart due to discriminatory immigration laws, and their children would not have to worry about the possibility of a parent being deported to another country by the government.
The American immigration system is based on family unification. The goal of keeping families together is why the U.S. allows a person to sponsor his or her spouse’s visa and to apply for citizenship together. Now is the time to demand that immigration reform includes all families. Sign the petition below to tell the Senate that this amendment must be passed into law.
Dear Senator Leahy and members of the U.S. Senate,
Our nation has reached a critical point in which crucial decisions must be made regarding U.S. immigration policy. Politicians, President Obama, the media, interest groups, and citizens have debated the issue for months. While these groups have the privilege of weighing in on the issues, the people who will be most affected by the decision—thousands of potential immigrants hoping for a better life, undocumented immigrants who go without rights despite their contributions to American society, and binational couples who only wish for the ability to be with the ones they love—are forced to live in a state of limbo. They live in a state of unknowingness compounded by the fear of losing their loved ones, the lives they have built, and hope for the future.
All too often the immigration debate conveniently leaves out the everyday reality of these groups. Focusing on the laws, policies, or building a wall makes it easier for lawmakers to forget the fact that real people’s lives are at stake. It also makes it easier to further ignore—intentionally or not—the groups that are repeatedly left out and discriminated against by American laws and society: the LGBT community. Senator Leahy has bravely stepped forward in defense of same-sex couples in immigration reform plans. His amendment would protect over 24,000 binational couples, 11,700 immigrant couples, and countless couples where one partner is an undocumented immigrant. These people would no longer have to fear having their lives ripped apart due to discriminatory immigration laws. Their children would not have to worry about the possibility of losing a parent to unfair immigration laws.
This is not the time to play politics. The thousands of people whose lives hang in the balance of immigration reform cannot afford it, nor can the future of our nation afford it. We demand that this amendment be passed so that immigration reform will include all families, regardless of sexual orientation.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: xtopher1974