NCLR Applauds Senate Inclusion of Same-Sex Couples and Relief for Youth in Comprehensive Immigration Reform Bill

September 30, 2010

Today, Senators Robert Menendez (D-NJ) and Patrick Leahy (D-VT) introduced the Comprehensive Immigration Reform Act of 2010. This legislation, which provides many urgently needed changes to our national immigration law, protects same-sex couples by incorporating the substance of the Uniting Americans Families Act (UAFA), which would grant U.S. citizens and lawful permanent residents the right to sponsor their same-sex permanent partners to immigrate to the United States. UAFA has been introduced as a stand-alone bill in both the House and the Senate, and currently has 161 co-sponsors. The bill also incorporates the DREAM Act, which would provide a pathway to citizenship for young people who have lived their entire lives in the United States and who are currently subject to deportation.

Statement from Federal Policy Attorney Maya Rupert, Esq.:

“We support the Comprehensive Immigration Reform Act of 2010 and applaud its inclusion of protections for same-sex binational couples. For decades, U.S. immigration law has refused to provide any way for citizens and residents who are in a committed relationship with a same-sex partner from another country to stay together in the United States. This bill would bring the United States in line with the many other countries that recognize same-sex relationships for immigration purposes. We also applaud the inclusion of the DREAM Act, which provides critically needed relief against deportation for young people who have spent their entire lives in the United States. Both of these provisions are critical to repairing our current policy and establishing a humane immigration system that creates engaged and contributing citizens. We commend Senators Menendez and Leahy for introducing an immigration reform bill that is fully inclusive and comprehensive.”


Join a Call for LGBT Family Immigration Rights

July 27, 2010

Please join NCLR and our friends at Immigration Equality for a teleconference call to learn about what you can do to help include LGBT families in comprehensive immigration reform.

Join Karen Narasaki of the Asian American Justice Center and Rachel Tiven of Immigration Equality Action Fund to discuss simple ways for you to help pass inclusive immigration reform. Other featured speakers include Congressman Mike Honda (D-CA), Bishop Minerva Carcaño, and families impacted by our broken immigration system.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010; 8:00 p.m. Eastern/ 5:00 p.m. Pacific
Call in 1-800-896-0105, Passcode 6946500#
To register and receive materials for the call go to www.LGBTforCIR.org.

The call is free and open to all. You’ll hear updates on inclusive family immigration bills moving through Congress now. And, you’ll learn all you need to know to set up a successful meeting with your Representative.

Have questions? To submit questions for our speakers before or during the call, please email uafanow@imeqactionfund.org.

Together we can make sure that comprehensive immigration reform includes all families.
In solidarity,


NCLR Calls on Congress for Immigration Equality for Families

July 15, 2010

Comprehensive Immigration Reform Legislation Must Include Protections for Binational Couples among the Family Unity Provisions

Today, the National Center for Lesbian Rights joined a coalition of organizations and leaders calling on Congress to insist that the Uniting American Families Act (UAFA) be included in comprehensive immigration reform legislation going forward. This approach is consistent with the Senate framework announced on April 29, 2010 by Senators Harry Reid (D-NV), Chuck Schumer (D-NY) and Robert Menendez (D-NJ), and with the Reuniting American Families Act currently pending in the U.S. House and previously introduced by Rep. Mike Honda (D-CA). UAFA (formerly called the Permanent Partners Immigration Act) would grant U.S. citizens and lawful permanent residents the right to sponsor their same-sex permanent partners to immigrate to the United States.

A Statement from Maya Rupert, Federal Policy Attorney for National Center for Lesbian Rights:

“We agree with the Representatives who join us here today, that in order for comprehensive immigration reform legislation to be truly comprehensive, it must include UAFA. Right now, our immigration system is badly broken. Family members are needlessly separated from each other when they should be together. Ideally, our immigration system must protect and unite families, not tear them apart or keep them separated. Binational LGBT couples and their children are among those families that immigration reform must help.

NCLR is heartened by the broad support for a fully-inclusive comprehensive immigration reform bill. We stand in solidarity with our allies in Congress, the broader immigration community, the faith-based community, and all fair-minded individuals in advocating for Congress to move swiftly and enact a humane, comprehensive immigration reform bill that will protect so many families.”


Gay U.S. Citizens Seek to Claim Residency for Foreign Spouses

July 1, 2010

by Alfonso Chardy and Steve Rothaus | Miami Herald

Juan Carlos Galán and Greg Nardi of Miami Beach live together as a family and would like to get married.

Then Nardi, a U.S. citizen, would claim Galán as a relative and help the Panama-born computer expert get a green card.

For now, though, these are just dreams — unless President Barack Obama can convince Congress to pass immigration reform.

read more


Democrats Look to Conservative Evangelicals On Immigration

June 28, 2010

by Sarah Posner | Religion Dispatches

On a teleconference last month with a loose coalition of white and Latino evangelical leaders, Sen. Charles Schumer, the New York Democrat who had recently unveiled a legislative proposal for comprehensive immigration reform, pleaded with participants to bring Republican senators to the table to hammer out a bipartisan package.

read more


Watch “Two Moms Fight to Stay Together”

June 22, 2010

Shirley Tan came from the Philippines decades ago, and built a life with her partner Jay, giving birth to twin boys and becoming a full-time mom. But Shirley faced the biggest challenge of her life as she fought to stay on in the United States, crippled by laws that do not allow gay and lesbian couples to sponsor their partners.

more about "Two Moms Fight to Stay Together", posted with vodpod


Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Rights Groups and Allies Join Outcry Against Anti-Immigrant Measure in Arizona

June 9, 2010

More than 20 lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) equality groups and allies today issued the following joint statement:

Arizona’s S.B. 1070 takes the state down a path that will lead to racial profiling, discrimination and anti-immigrant extremism. We stand in solidarity with other individuals, organizations and local governments in rejecting the misrepresentation of immigrants put forth in this unjust and ill-conceived measure.

S.B. 1070 essentially declares an entire class of people to be inherently criminal on the basis of their race and appearance. The consequences of S.B. 1070 are grave and troubling: the inevitability of racial profiling and infringement on civil liberties; the strong probability of violence and harassment against individuals and their families; and the reversal of progress toward creating a more inclusive society.

We also note that this bill was signed into law by Gov. Jan Brewer, the same governor who last year stripped away earned health insurance benefits from the same-sex domestic partners of state employees. Brewer’s actions as governor demonstrate, at best, callous indifference — and at worst, willful malice — toward immigrants and LGBT people alike.

All Arizona families — lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and straight — have reason to be alarmed. The state’s new law threatens to tear apart families, separate children from their parents and rip apart loving couples who are building their lives together. The LGBT community knows all too well how easily people who ‘look different’ or ‘act different’ can be singled out for harassment and persecution. LGBT immigrants will be doubly vulnerable under this law, which gives license to discriminate.

We are united in our determination to stand for political and legislative change that will ensure just treatment of immigrants, people of color, and all people in Arizona. Such justice requires the repeal of S.B. 1070 and the passage and implementation of comprehensive federal immigration reform.

Today we join with groups such as Service Employees International Union, League of United Latin American Citizens, Asian American Justice Center, Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, Mexican American Legal Defense and Education Fund, National Council of La Raza, National Action Network, the National Puerto Rican Coalition, and many others in the boycott against the state of Arizona until S.B. 1070 is repealed, overturned by the courts, or superseded by comprehensive federal immigration reform.

National Center for Lesbian Rights
National Gay and Lesbian Task Force Action Fund
Human Rights Campaign
GLAAD
Immigration Equality
National Black Justice Coalition
National Coalition of Anti-Violence Programs
Out & Equal Workplace Advocates
International Foundation for Gender Education
Family Equality Council
Two Spirit Press Room
Equality Federation
National Minority AIDS Council
National Gay & Lesbian Chamber of Commerce(R)
Freedom to Marry
Gay Men’s Health Crisis
Lambda Legal
BiNet USA
International Federation of Black Prides, Inc.
Consortium of Higher Education LGBT Resource Professionals
UNID@S
SAGE
Atticus Circle


Gay Couple Get a Boost in Winning Bid to Reunite

June 4, 2010

by Maria Sacchetti | Boston Globe

Tim Coco and Genesio Oliveira married in 2005, among the throngs who wed after same-sex marriage became legal in Massachusetts. But for nearly three years, they lived apart — Coco in Haverhill and Oliveira in his native Brazil — because federal law does not recognize their union.

read more


ACLU And Civil Rights Groups File Legal Challenge To Arizona Racial Profiling Law

May 24, 2010

The American Civil Liberties Union and a coalition of civil rights groups filed a class action lawsuit today in the U.S. District Court for the District of Arizona challenging Arizona’s new law requiring police to demand “papers” from people they stop who they suspect are not authorized to be in the U.S. The extreme law, the coalition charged, invites the racial profiling of people of color, violates the First Amendment and interferes with federal law.

The coalition filing the lawsuit includes the ACLU, MALDEF, National Immigration Law Center (NILC), theNational Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), ACLU of Arizona, National Day Laborer Organizing Network (NDLON) and the Asian Pacific American Legal Center (APALC) – a member of the Asian American Center for Advancing Justice.

“Arizona’s law is quintessentially un-American: we are not a ‘show me your papers’ country, nor one that believes in subjecting people to harassment, investigation and arrest simply because others may perceive them as foreign,” said Omar Jadwat, a staff attorney with the ACLU Immigrants’ Rights Project. “This law violates the Constitution and interferes with federal law, and we are confident that we will prevent it from ever taking effect.”

The lawsuit charges that the Arizona law unlawfully interferes with federal power and authority over immigration matters in violation of the Supremacy Clause of the U.S. Constitution; invites racial profiling against people of color by law enforcement in violation of the equal protection guarantee and prohibition on unreasonable seizures under the 14th and Fourth Amendments; and infringes on the free speech rights of day laborers and others in Arizona.

“This discriminatory law pushes Arizona into a spiral of fear, increased crime and costly litigation,” said Victor Viramontes, MALDEF Senior National Counsel. “We expect that this misguided law will be enjoined before it takes effect.”

One of the individuals the coalition is representing in the case, Jim Shee, is a U.S.-born 70-year-old American citizen of Spanish and Chinese descent. Shee asserts that he will be vulnerable to racial profiling under the law, and that, although the law has not yet gone into effect, he has already been stopped twice by local law enforcement officers in Arizona and asked to produce his “papers.”

Another plaintiff, Jesus Cuauhtémoc Villa, is a resident of the state of New Mexico who is currently attending Arizona State University. The state of New Mexico does not require proof of U.S. citizenship or immigration status to obtain a driver’s license. Villa does not have a U.S. passport and does not want to risk losing his birth certificate by carrying it with him. He worries about traveling in Arizona without a valid form of identification that would prove his citizenship to police if he is pulled over. If he cannot supply proof upon demand, Arizona law enforcement is required to arrest and detain him.

Several prominent law enforcement groups, including the Arizona Association of Chiefs of Police, oppose the law because it diverts limited resources from law enforcement’s primary responsibility of providing protection and promoting public safety in the community and undermines trust and cooperation between local police and immigrant communities.

“This ill-conceived law sends a clear message to communities of color that the authorities are not to be trusted, making them less likely to come forward as victims of or witnesses to crime,” said Linton Joaquin, General Counsel of NILC. “Arizona’s authorities should not allow public safety to take a back seat to racial profiling.”

“African-Americans know all too well the insidious effects of racial profiling,” said Benjamin Todd Jealous, President and Chief Executive Officer of the NAACP. “The government should be preventing police from investigating and detaining people based on color and accent, not mandating it. Laws that encourage discrimination have no place in this country anywhere for anyone.”

“This extreme law puts Arizona completely out of step with American values of fairness and equality,” said Julie Su, Litigation Director of the APALC. “In a state where U.S. citizens of Japanese descent were interned during World War II, it is deeply troubling that a law that would mandate lower-class treatment of people of color, immigrants and others seen to be outsiders would pass in 2010.”

The lawsuit was filed on behalf of labor, domestic violence, day laborer, human services and social justice organizations, including Friendly House, Service Employees International Union (SEIU), SEIU Local 5, United Food and Commercial Workers International (UFCW), Arizona South Asians for Safe Families (ASAFSF), Southside Presbyterian Church, Arizona Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, Asian Chamber of Commerce of Arizona, Border Action Network, Tonatierra Community Development Institute, Muslim American Society, Japanese American Citizens League, Valle del Sol, Inc., Coalicíon De Derechos Humanos, and individual named plaintiffs who will be subject to harassment or arrest under the law and a class of similarly situated persons.

“Day laborers have repeatedly defended their First Amendment rights in federal courts and successfully established their undeniable right to seek work in public areas,” said Pablo Alvarado, Executive Director of NDLON. “Arizona’s effort to criminalize day laborers and migrants is an affront to the Constitution and threatens to disrupt national unity, and we are confident that federal courts will intervene to ensure the protection of our bedrock civil rights.”

Even prior to the passage of the statute, local enforcement of federal immigration law has already caused rampant racial profiling of Latinos in Arizona, most notably in Maricopa County. The ACLU, MALDEF and other members of the coalition have several pending lawsuits against government officials in Arizona because of civil rights abuses of U.S. citizens and immigrants.

Organizations and attorneys on the case, Friendly House et al. v. Whiting et al., include:

ACLU Immigrants’ Rights Project: Jadwat, Lucas Guttentag, Cecillia Wang, Tanaz Moghadam and Harini P. Raghupathi;
MALDEF: Viramontes, Tom Saenz, Cynthia Valenzuela Dixon, Nina Perales, Ivan Espinoza-Madrigal, Gladys Limón and Nicholás Espiritu;
NILC: Joaquin, Karen C. Tumlin, Nora A. Preciado, Melissa S. Keaney, Vivek Mittal and Ghazal Tajmiri;
ACLU Foundation of Arizona: Dan Pochoda and Annie Lai;
APALC: Su, Ronald Lee, Yungsuhn Park, Connie Choi and Carmina Ocampo;
NDLON: Chris Newman and Lisa Kung;
NAACP: Laura Blackburne;
Munger Tolles & Olson LLP: Bradley S. Phillips, Paul J. Watford, Elizabeth J. Neubauer, Joseph J. Ybarra, Susan T. Boyd and Yuval Miller; and
Roush, Mccracken, Guerrero, Miller & Ortega: Daniel R. Ortega, Jr.

READ THE COMPLAINT NOW (pdf).

More information about the Arizona law, including an ACLU video and slide show, can be found at: www.aclu.org/what-happens-arizona-stops-arizona


Rep. Gutierrez Wants Same-Sex Partner Rights in Immigration Reform Bill

May 21, 2010

by Rex W. Huppke | Chicago Tribune

Hopes that foreign-born partners of gay and lesbian Americans could follow the same path to citizenship as heterosexual spouses got a boost Thursday when U.S. Rep. Luis Gutierrez of Chicago said he would fight to include such a proposal in the campaign for comprehensive immigration reform.

read more


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