HRC Praises Congressman Nadler’s Introduction Of Permanent Partners Immigration Act

The Human Rights Campaign joined a coalition of organizations

at a press conference on February 14th for the introduction of a bill in Congress that

would provide same-sex partners of U.S. citizens and lawful permanent

residents the same immigration rights legal spouses of U.S. residents enjoy.

“This bill will help end the unjust and cruel separation of

families,” says HRC Political Director Winnie Stachelberg. “We applaud

Congressman Nadler for taking this initiative and recognizing that

immigration law is supposed to be based on protecting families and not

tearing them apart based on sexual orientation.”

The Permanent Partners Immigration Act, sponsored by Rep. Jerrold Nadler,

D-N.Y., would modify the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) to include

lesbian and gay families.

Currently, U.S. immigration law does not allow lesbian and gay citizens or

permanent residents to petition for their same-sex partners to immigrate.

Approximately seventy-five percent of the one million green cards or

immigrant visas issued each year go to family members of U.S. citizens and

permanent residents. However, those excluded from the INA’s current

definition of family include same-sex partners, unmarried heterosexual

couples and other family members.

Each year, current law forces thousands of lesbian and gay couples to break

up or live in constant fear of deportation. In some cases, partners of

lesbians and gays face prosecution by the Immigration and Naturalization

Service (INS), hefty fines and deportation. United States citizens are

sometimes left with no other choice but to migrate with their partner to a

nation whose immigration laws recognize their relationship.

Fourteen countries, Australia, Belgium, Canada, Denmark, Finland, France,

Iceland, Israel, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, South Africa, Sweden

and the United Kingdom recognize lesbian and gay couples for the purposes of

immigration.

The New York-based Lesbian and Gay Immigration Rights Task Force, an

organization addressing the widespread discriminatory impact of immigration

laws on lesbians and gays, anticipates same-sex binational couples will have

to meet the same requirements as married couples do. Last year, the

Permanent Partners Immigration Act quickly garnered the support of nearly 60

cosponsors.

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