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Gay Rights Inclusive Immigration Bill Introduced in U.S. House

Gay Rights Inclusive Immigration Bill Introduced in U.S. House

Rep. Mike Honda (D-Calif.) introduced on Thursday a gay inclusive immigration bill that would enable gay and lesbian Americans to sponsor their foreign-born partners, a right that is currently denied them by the 1996 Defense of Marriage Act.

The bill, the Reuniting Families Act, echoes other legislation like the Uniting American Families Act in trying to make it easier for gay bi-national couples to stay together.

More from The Washington Blade:

Rachel Tiven, executive director for Immigration Equality, praised Honda for including a provision for bi-national same-sex couples as part of his legislation.

“Separating families has an enormously expensive impact, it is a drain on the economy and separating Americans from their loved ones and forcing them to move abroad because they can’t keep their family together in this country is simply pointless,” Tiven said.

In addition to including UAFA — like language, Honda’s legislation would help shorten the wait times that can keep legal immigrants and their overseas loved ones separated for years. The bill would classify spouses and children of permanent U.S. residents as “immediate relatives” and exempt them from numerical caps on immigration.

“The reality is almost 6 million people are stuck the log jam of our family visa system,” Honda said. “The current system has not been updated in over 20 years, and many family members who apply for visas are not granted admission for decades — and that undermines their economic contributions to our country and encourages some frustrated relatives to resort to illegal migration.”

The Reuniting Families Act currently has 73 co-sponsors including House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.).

The subject of immigration reform looks set to be one of the main issues of the 112th Congress with President Obama having made it one of the key issues he would like to tackle during his presidency.

Until comprehensive and LGBT-inclusive immigration reform is passed, Rep. Honda has joined several other legislators in asking that President Obama issue a moratorium on deportation proceedings against foreign-born spouses in same-sex marriages or equivalent unions whereby, were it not for the Defense of Marriage Act that bars federal recognition of same-sex unions, the individual would be applicable for a marriage-based green card.

Senator Robert Menendez (D-N.J.) is expected to introduce counterpart legislation in the upper chamber though the exact form that legislation will take is not yet known. 

Read more at The Washington Blade.

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Photo used under the Creative Commons Attribution License, with thanks to brainchildvn.

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38 comments

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9:49PM PDT on May 15, 2011

Republicans say they are pro-family, they need to prove they are pro-family. Hate is not a family value. I hope this passes.

8:36AM PDT on May 14, 2011

Nil chance of this going anywhere. Immigration reform is mired in the racial mess that this President specializes in and the cold fact he is only interested in one thing now, reelection and pandering to as many groups as he can.

Our system is broken which the article rightly points out but playing more diversity games will not help fix it. Our immigration laws are broken routinely and this President, like most before him just winks at it and says we'll do "comprehensive" reform and fix it all at once. Congressmen pandering to groups like this one just muddy the waters further.

10:59PM PDT on May 10, 2011

Separation in families, no matter what the make up, is harmful to the unit. Family is the strongest institution left. Let's let families thrive, and let's encourage all families to stay together. Be Blessed.

5:23PM PDT on May 10, 2011

Isaiah 32

5The vile person shall be no more called liberal, nor the churl said to be bountiful.

6For the vile person will speak villany, and his heart will work iniquity, to practise hypocrisy, and to utter error against the LORD, to make empty the soul of the hungry, and he will cause the drink of the thirsty to fail.

7The instruments also of the churl are evil: he deviseth wicked devices to destroy the poor with lying words, even when the needy speaketh right.

8But the liberal deviseth liberal things; and by liberal things shall he stand.

2:45PM PDT on May 10, 2011

noted and good luck.

12:44PM PDT on May 10, 2011

Good article all we can do is wait and see what happens. I wish them luck.

10:05AM PDT on May 10, 2011

It will be an uphill fight but it is a worthy one to fight for. Good for this Democratic politician - at least he has a working brain connected to his heart.

10:01AM PDT on May 10, 2011

IMO this is downright stoopid!!!!!!!!

9:19AM PDT on May 10, 2011

I really hope this bill passes. I hate to say I am doubtful, but if history tells me anything.....still, the fact that it was proposed in the first place is a good sign.

8:39AM PDT on May 10, 2011

I doubt that this would pass since the repugnutz have no common sense.

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