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Immigration Equality Action Fund Announces Support for DREAM Act

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For Immediate Release
November 18, 2010

Contact:  Steve Ralls
(202) 347-7007 / sralls@immigrationequality.org

Immigration Equality Action Fund Announces Support for DREAM Act

Critical Legislation for Undocumented Youth Would Benefit LGBT Young People

Washington, DC – The Immigration Equality Action Fund, which advocates on Capitol Hill for equality for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender (LGBT) and HIV-positive immigrants and their families, today expressed support for the Development, Relief and Education of Alien Minors Act (DREAM Act), noting that the measure would benefit countless LGBT youth by providing them with a path to citizenship in the United States. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) announced on Wednesday that he would schedule a vote on the bill, which includes a path to citizenship via military service, before Congress adjourns this year.

“The DREAM Act is one critical step forward in addressing our country’s broken immigration system,” said Rachel B. Tiven, the group’s executive director. “Many of the young, undocumented people who would benefit from its passage are lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender. LGBT young people who have grown up and come out in America desperately need the DREAM Act to pass. This country has gotten a wake-up call about the vulnerability of LGBT youth, and passing the DREAM Act is a crucial component of protecting our young people. DREAM provides an opportunity to build a life, and fully participate, in the country so many undocumented young people call home. Congress should address the full array of obstacles and discrimination immigrants and their families face under our current immigration system, and passage of the DREAM Act is an important first step in doing just that.”

The DREAM Act offers two paths to citizenship for undocumented youth. Young people can obtain U.S. citizenship through study at a college or university, or through service in the U.S. armed forces.

“We need an immigration system that treats everyone fairly and honors our history as a nation of immigrants,” Tiven concluded. “Every member of the American family – including LGBT young people, binational families and asylum seekers, deserve a fair shake at being part of the American dream. That’s also why Congress must urgently pass other family unification measures such as the Uniting American Families Act, the Reuniting Families Act and a comprehensive legislative package that protects all families, too.”

The Action Fund is also urging Senators to support the Comprehensive Immigration Reform Act of 2010. The bill’s sponsor, Senator Robert Menendez (D-NJ), announced earlier this week that he has spoken to lawmakers, and President Obama, about moving the measure forward this year. Senator Menendez’s bill includes the Uniting American Families Act, which would amend current immigration law to allow lesbian and gay Americans the opportunity to sponsor their foreign-born partners for residency in the United States. An estimated 36,000 binational families are unable to do under current law, with nearly half of those families raising young children who are, themselves, American citizens.

“Congress must address the obstacles and inequities that LGBT immigrants and their families face under our current immigration system, especially including passage of the Uniting American Families Act,” Tiven said. “LGBT Americans support passage of the DREAM Act as an important first step in doing just that.”

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Immigration Equality Action Fund advocates on Capitol Hill for equality for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and HIV-positive immigrants and their families. To end discrimination in U.S. immigration law, Immigration Equality Action Fund works to pass the Uniting American Families Act and LGBT-inclusive Comprehensive Immigration Reform. The Action Fund lobbies legislators and other policy makers, builds coalitions, and empowers LGBT immigrant families around the country to fight for change.

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