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Immigration Reform: Obama Plan Includes Gay Couples, Senate Plan Doesn’t

by David Badash on January 29, 2013

in Immigration,News,Politics

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Barack Obama today in Las Vegas, Nevada will unveil his immigration reform plan, and unlike that of the bipartisan Senate “group of eight,” the President’s plan will specifically include same-sex couples.

“A Democratic source said: ‘Same-sex couples will be part of his proposal,’” Chris Geidner and Zeke Miller wrote late last night in an exclusive report at Buzzfeed:

A second source confirmed that, unlike the Senate framework released Monday, same-sex bi-national couples — those with one American and one foreign partner — will be included in the White House principles.

The decision by Obama seeks to remedy what advocates for LGBT couples view as one of the most searing inequalities under the existing federal limit on marriage to one man and one women: LGBT American citizens simply have no way to confer citizenship on their romantic partners, something that is automatic — if not always simple — for straight couples.

Under current law, such same-sex couples, even when married under state law, are not eligible for the green cards that opposite-sex couples can receive. Foreign partners of same-sex couples have in the past found their green card applications denied — often forcing couples to separate or move abroad.

In what is sadly not a shocking revelation, Buzzfeed notes that “three of the Democratic senators involved in the bipartisan framework reached out to LGBT advocates on Sunday to let them know in advance that same-sex couples’ immigration issues would not be addressed in the Senate framework.

An LGBT advocate on the call said that the call, which was led by Sen. Chuck Schumer and included Sens. Richard Durbin and Bob Menendez, included the news from Schumer that same-sex couples would not be addressed in the Senate framework to be unveiled Monday in order to maintain its bipartisan support.

The bipartisan group of eight Senators include Republicans John McCain of Arizona, Marco Rubio of Florida, Lindsey Graham of South Carolina and Jeff Flake of Arizona, and Democrats Chuck Schumer of New York, Dick Durbin of Illinois, Robert Menendez of New Jersey, and Michael Bennet of Colorado.

The LGBT community should make this news very clear, that Republicans were willing to drop support of immigration reform over same-sex couples. It’s time the LGBT community, the Hispanic community, and other minorities work together to support each other on all fronts, especially one so very important like immigrate reform, which touches countless lives.

Image: President Barack Obama meets with members of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus in the Roosevelt Room of the White House, Jan. 25, 2013. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

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