Sen. Leahy supports same-sex immigration benefits

Should U.S. citizens be allowed to seek green cards for their same sex partners?

That is what Vermont Sen. Patrick J. Leahy is proposing.

And I think it's the right thing to do.

Immigrant advocates and labor groups are mounting a campaign to ask President Obama to keep his promise to bring immigration reform up in Congress. They are pushing for later this year. But any efforts to do so should include same-sex immigration benefits.

"For too long, gay and lesbian American citizens whose partners are foreign nationals have been denied the ability to sponsor their loved ones for lawful permanent residency," Leahy said in a statement on his Web site. "Under current immigration law, many citizens have been forced to choose between their country and their loved ones.  No American should face such a choice.  The preservation of family unity is at the core of our immigration legal system.  This American value must apply to all families."
 
On Wednesday, Leahy held a congressional hearing on his proposed bill, The Uniting American Families Act: Addressing Inequality in Federal Immigration Law. He said any efforts at comprehensive immigration reform wouldn't be comprehensive unless they include same-sex couples.
Shirley Tan from the Philippines testified at the hearing in
Washington, D.C. that she was arrested and about to be deported. Her
partner is a U.S. citizen and they have two U.S. citizen children and
live in California.

"Because my partner is not a man, she cannot do anything to help me," Tan testified, according to the Washington Blade.

She has a temporary stay of deportation until 2011.

There
are some concerns that this benefit would open up more cases of
immigration fraud. But the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services
officials are trained to detect fraud. It shouldn't be any harder for
them to do this with gay couples.

Leahy noted that there are 19 countries, including Canada, South Africa and Germany, which provide same-sex immigration benefits.

The United States should be one of them.

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  • Sounds like a no-brainer to me, but it's kind of ridiculous that they are racing against the clock ... will the law change before she gets deported?

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