The National Center for Transgender Equality applauds the Congressional Hispanic Caucus (CHC), which yesterday released a strong set of principles for common-sense, comprehensive immigration reform that include and protect lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) families and undocumented youth.
Specifically, the CHC’s “One Nation: Principles for Immigration Reform and Our Commitment to the American Dream” calls for reform that “Protects the unity and sanctity of the family, including the families of bi-national, same-sex couples, by reducing the family backlogs and keeping spouses, parents, and children together.”
Under current law, U.S. citizens cannot sponsor a same-sex partner for residency in the U.S., and all transgender people and their partners are potentially affected. An estimated 36,000 families are affected overall, and many are forced to separate or face exile abroad. The Uniting American Families Act (UAFA), which would fix this inequity, is currently pending in the House and Senate.
The CHC’s principles also calls for “incorporate[ing] DREAMers—“those who were brought to the U.S. at a young age and are Americans but for a piece of paper—into the mainstream of life in the United States through a path to citizenship so that America benefits from their scholastic achievements, military service and pursuit of their dreams.” The DREAM Act, which would provide such a path, narrowly failed to reach a final Senate vote in 2010 despite broad support from NCTE and many others, and President Obama has since announced a program for temporary relief for DREAMers, including many who are LGBT.
NCTE Executive Director Mara Keisling said, “These principles and the commitment they represent from the Congressional Hispanic Caucus, illustrate our common ground in supporting social justice for everyone including trans people, DREAMers and the so many who are both. Whether we are fighting to keep families together or protecting asylum seekers or finding a path to citizenship for DREAMers, we are supporting social justice and the American way for everyone.”
NCTE shares that commitment and will work with the rest of the LGBT community and others to ensure that, in the words of the CHC’s statement, our immigration laws “are consistent with our nation’s commitment to fairness and equality.”
Read the CHC immigration reform principles here.