For LGBT immigrant families, however, 2012 really was a banner year. Together, we made remarkable progress towards ending the discrimination our families face in the immigration system. We enlisted powerful new allies in our cause. And we continued to ensure that LGBT people fleeing unspeakable persecution from around the world have access to the country’s best pro bono asylum program.
With that in mind, we compiled our own “12 in 12″ list, highlighting all we have to celebrate as the year comes to a close.
Earlier this year, Secretary Napolitano issued written guidance for ICE field officers – following calls to do so from Immigration Equality – clearly stating that LGBT families ties should be considered in extending prosecutorial discretion to stop family separations.
CHC members called on their Congressional colleagues to include LGBT binational families in comprehensive immigration reform, listing it as a top priority for the influential caucus.
3. We went to court.
Immigration Equality filed a federal court challenge to the federal Defense of Marriage Act on behalf of 5 LGBT binational families.
4. We won for Bradford & Anthony; Frances & Takako; and Tim & Edwin.
Immigration Equality clients were granted deferred action by the Obama Administration, ensuring they will not be separated as we continue to press for a permanent solution to keep all families together.
Our legal team’s impressive record of securing asylum for LGBT people from around the world continued, with 102 victories – and counting – in 2012.
In an exclusive video for our “My Family. Together.” campaign, The Indigo Girls called on the President to ensure LGBT binational families are not separated.
After more than two years of coalition work, it is gratifying to see that many of the recommendations by Immigration Equality and our allies have been included in ICE’s new Performance Based National Detention Standards.
An unprecedented coalition of LGBT, immigration and civil liberties groups joined Immigration Equality in asking the President to halt green card denials until a final DOMA decision comes from the U.S. Supreme Court.
The new training module, announced in January, was developed in conjunction with Immigration Equality. Our legal director has personally trained countless asylum officers throughout the year, ensuring they understand the unique obstacles faced by LGBTI asylum seekers.
Following his endorsement of marriage equality for LGBT families, the White House said in a statement that, “The President has long believed that Americans with same-sex partners from other countries should not be faced with the painful choice between staying with the person they love or staying in the country they love, and he welcomes changes that would help keep families together.”
The nation’s highest court announced that it will hear a challenge to DOMA in 2013, with a final decision on the law’s constitutionality expected in June. At long last, the end of DOMA is within reach.
Three GOP lawmakers – Senator Susan Collins (ME); Congressman Richard Hanna (NY); and Congressman Charlie Dent (PA) – have signed on as co-sponsors.
And that’s just a snapshot. We’ve also seen national media attention for the stories of LGBT immigrant families; enlisted 10,000 Facebook followers in our cause; and joined the cast of I Do as the first feature film about a gay, binational couple arrived in theaters.
As remarkable as 2012 has been, however, it is the year ahead – 2013 – that promises to help push us across the finish line. As Congress begins work on comprehensive immigration reform early next year; as more GOP lawmakers support UAFA; and as the Supreme Court prepares to rule on DOMA’s future . . .we have a real chance to ensure that all LGBT binational couples will finally have access to the green cards they deserve.
Thank you for standing with us this year. And get ready for an historic 2013 ahead.