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Immigration Equality Praises President’s Proposal in Favor of LGBT-Inclusive Immigration Reform

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For Immediate Release
January 29, 2013

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

Washington, DC – Immigration Equality executive director Rachel B. Tiven issued the following statement in response to the immigration reform proposal released by President Obama today. The President, in calling on Congress to pass reform this year, released a proposal in Las Vegas that supports legislation that specifically helps lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) binational couples.  The President’s proposal “treats same-sex families as families by giving U.S. citizens and lawful permanent residents the ability to seek a visa on the basis of a permanent relationship with a same-sex partner,” the document released today notes. It also “seeks to eliminate backlogs in the family-sponsored immigration system,” a key priority for gay and straight families.

“LGBT families are elated to have the President’s support for an immigration reform bill that includes our families,” Tiven said. “When the President leads, Congress and the American people join him to stand for equality. From the repeal of ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ to marriage equality, the President’s leadership has been effective, and critical, in winning real change for real families. As Congress moves forward in crafting legislation to fix our broken immigration system, we look forward to working with the President and our allies on Capitol Hill to pass a bill that ends the discrimination LGBT families face, provides a pathway to citizenship for undocumented people – gay and straight – and quickly integrates young people whose dream is to be fully, legally American.”

Earlier in the day, White House press secretary Jay Carney also told reporters the President supports an inclusive reform package.

“The President believes that it should be included and that should come as no surprise,” Carney said. “As we’ve said all along, this is consistent with the principles he has laid out over the last four years.  And 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 the President’s position on this is consistent with how we’ve approached prosecutorial discretion at DHS and others. So I think it should not be a surprise and it would be entirely inconsistent not to have that position.”

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30 Responses to Immigration Equality Praises President’s Proposal in Favor of LGBT-Inclusive Immigration Reform

  1. brijcubs says:

    Let’s hope! He didn’t mention us…does his written proposal truly include it…can you print the entirety?

  2. Claude Bouchard says:

    I am an American, my partner is Italian. I am in the process of selling everything I own and moving to Italy just for this reason. I’ve spent years in the US Military defending this country so that my rights as an American are denied to me. My right as an American, to marry the person I love, should not be up for vote. Many of the people voting on my rights have never spent a day in their lives in the military – defending this country – much less defending anything but their own values. I have issues with this. I’ve worked for 30 years to get where I am and in the end it comes down to this – which is more important, my partner or my country? Unfortunately, although I love my country, I love my partner more. This is not the way we want it but, as of today, I’ve no choice.

  3. Steven Zbaida says:

    You are absolutely correct

  4. lety cano says:

    I want to know if this will help us even if we are not married. I feel we need some experts to start talking to us about what we should be preparing for. For example i am here in the US and my partner is working in Canada, although she is from Uruguay. She is legally in Canada. We have a few months before the flood gates open. i just dont want to be scrambling at the last minute trying to find information. Can someone help us, please. Knowledge is power.

  5. Ken Oberg says:

    Claude, I did the same thing this past year. Sold my home in Tennessee and everything, and moved to Italy…all in the name of love. My partner and I married in NYC last September and now live in norhtern Italy. All of this after he was denied a student visa last January when trying to come to the USA. Like yourself, I love my country but love my husband more, and no amount of sacrifice would have kept me from coming here. Good luck and best wishes.

    Ken

  6. Michael Brown says:

    Like Claude, I too am leaving the US this week to be with my husband internationally. His country fully recognizes LGBT families through immigration. If the President really believes 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, then I hope he knows what couples like us are faced with. We have waited for 4 years and we can no longer afford to wait (financially or emotionally). Goodbye USA and I won’t be back.

  7. Kate says:

    We live in Vancouver. My partner commutes to Los Angeles for work every two weeks. We’ve been married three years and together almost six. We live in Canada as there’s no way for her to sponsor me. She’s a US citizen, I’m British. We’re fortunate in that her employer understands and they work around our having to live outside of the US. And Canada has been fantastic when it came to our work visas. But we’d like to move back to the US.. my partners Mother is 90, we have sole financial responsibility for her and unfortunately cannot bring her to Canada as the wait to bring in parents is years.

    We have it better than a lot of people in our situation but we have a lot of sleepless nights and the financial burden is tremendous. Would we change things and end our relationship? No.. never. But we really hope they pass this soon. I’d like to think its going to be months but I haven’t seen any real indication of that. Has anyone?

    Good luck to you all!

  8. Kenny says:

    Claude – First, thank you for your service! Second, we are an American/Italian bi-National couple also. We should get in touch with each other. Also, a big Thank You to the staff of I.E. for everything they do every day on our behalf. We still have an uphill battle, but hopefully we are closer than ever!

  9. Miriam says:

    I see the great intentions by President Obama. I applaude him for it. but these are intentions.. looking at the bi-partisan group of decisionmakers I am worried … The make up of the bipartisan panel: Democrats Durbin, Schumer, Menendez, Bennet & Republicans Rubio, McCain, Graham, Flake.
    Although Sen Schumer & Sen McCain have stated that is too early to discuss ‘us’ and our families ….. Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) told reporters on Tuesday that it’s a mistake for the president to push for same-sex couples to be included in immigration reform, if he wants Republicans to support the bill.
    Hold strong Mr President! For my family.. please hold strong.
    (and Megan McCain – it’s time for a chat with your dad!)

  10. Lynn says:

    WOW! I could say DITTO DITTO DITTO!
    My wife is American and I Canadian.We legally married here in Ontario,Canada in Sept.2003; it will be 10 years this Sept. There is no point itemizing point by painful point what we went through and are still going through in the hopes of living together in the USA. Anyone reading this has lived and breathed the same poison we have. There are so many questions ; who do we contact, do we sell our home here,
    will I “really” be able to stay, if we get married again say in NY would be legal in FL???? Your President is a gem in my opinion ..I just want my wife to be able to feel the sun of Florida on her skin again. HELP!
    Lynn and Leslie

  11. Raymond Shepherd says:

    Lety I am am in a similar position my partner is Filipino and is still in Philippines. He tried to get to the US via a student visa but denied. He thinks my health is to unstable for me to join him there. We are not married but will do what it takes. We have a lawyer but until this settles down I do not want to consult her again. We all do what we need to do,

  12. Sandra says:

    My partner and I left the USA last year because she wasn’t able to get another student visa (she was on a student visa for 8 years). I had to give up my life here and the business I had created so we could stay together. We live in Europe now. The last few years have been very tough for us, both emotionally and financially, and all because we don’t have the right to live together in the U.S. But like others have mentioned here, for me it was also much more important to stay together with my partner. We’re hopeful that the laws in the U.S. will change soon so this injustice will have an end.

  13. klutz says:

    At least you folks can move to your partner’s country (Canada, Italy, etc.). I can’t even do that because her country considers homosexuality a criminal offense and you could be jailed or worse just for being who you are :’(

  14. Gab says:

    It’s just hopeless…

    I had to leave the love of my life, because there was not any other that we could be together. It still hurts. I have no idea I if I will ever be able to move on. Hope everybody here keep with their partners no matter what.

  15. Nat says:

    Does anyone know if the new immigration reform which President is trying to pass allows traveling outside of the US?

  16. Neptune says:

    One of my best friends(American) and his partner (Japanese) had to immigrate to New Zealand -where they had no connections at all- in 2009 because neither the US or Japan acknowledges their relationship- they went from good jobs
    to at one time picking peaches- it took them at least 2 years to find decent jobs. I am on 2 years further leave to remain
    in the UK -I am American- you leave everything-home, friends ,family,job – its not an easy transition-because your own country rejects your relationship- after rejecting you because your partner is the same sex. I’m not young -and came out in 1983, worked the entire time, paid taxes etc.-other countries allow it- but it doesnt mean they accept you as an immigrant.
    From over here in the UK where they’ve has civil partnerships and unmarried partner immigration since 2005- it seems archaic- and ridiculous for the US to continue to drag this out-GET IT DONE!

  17. shelly & Simie says:

    I have been married for several years to my beautiful beautiful talented wife!!!!!!!! She is totally amazing!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Awesome!!!!!!!!!!!! She is Italian and they do not recognize ssm yet. but if we need to we can move to another state in Europe that does. If we can find one lmao for immigration purposes. We are obtaining our degrees here. I am a U.S. citizen but if this does not change soon like this year then we will also say goodbye to the U.S. because we will NOT them win and separate us!!!!!!!!!!!!! Gab we feel so so bad that you have gone through this horrible ordeal!!!!!!!!!!!! We Pray that this reform is active and implemented NOW!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Please call immigration equality they might be able to help you find a way to get your partner here. You can find me on Facebook (Mechelle Burch Marafon if you need anything please let me know. Before my wife and I were able to live here we had to pay $$$$$$$$$$ for 2 houses, 2 sets of bills, 2 cars, insurences 2, health care amoung traveling by plane so it has been very difficult my wife sold her house in order to come here. For a student visa you need an American sponsor to fill out papers stating you or someone will sponsor (pay for your partners care) everything solely responsible!!!!!!!!!!!!!! if anyone needs help i will do my best to help. Have a good night.

  18. Tom Hoppel says:

    Honestly I am very concerned that although the President is including us, the fact this that the Senator’s proposal on immigration reform does not include binational couples, and that we seem to now be a political football.

    The Senators have not included us to appease the Republicans. Senator Schumer said unapologetically that there are no guarantees that we are going to be included. I cannot get my Senator, Senator Menendez’s office, on the phone now.

    The President is standing firm but could really use our help. If the LGBT community and it’s allies do not send a clear message that we care about binational couples, it would be a huge mistake and send a message that we are willing to wait.

    Please help make our voices heard. Can you call your congressman or Senators? All you need to do is call the Capital Switchboard and ask for them by name. 202 224 3121 and tell them the LGBT must be included in any Immigration Reform.

    Thanks from Budapest!

  19. Will says:

    I hope this comes to a conclusion soon for everyone’s sake. It’s too late for me and my former partner however. After over 7 years of stress, huge expenses for international travel, and depression over how our relationships have been ignored, belittled, and used as a political football, I lost the love of my life when he came to the stark conclusion that he had to focus on rebuilding his career and life in his home country. I feel like a part of me has died, like someone ripped out my heart and stomped on it. I don’t blame him, he did all he could and more. I blame the unfeeling, uncaring, reptilian Federal beauracracy and politicians. I hope they burn in hell.

  20. Josh says:

    It appears that you will only be able to support a partner that is currently a legal resident living in the US, which mostly defeats the purpose for the majority of us. My partner is Liberian and is in Liberia. Regardless, this is a right move forward and I would suggest that people follow DOMA in the Supreme Court. Things are starting to look very promising. Best of luck to everyone. J

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  22. Ralph says:

    President Obama’s Bill is a no non sense bill that should be chosen and urged to pass.rapidly. It will save time to bring creating visas and ending some of the discrimination. Binational couples have suffered far too long. Many couples are no longer with us to share the progress being made toward complete equality and victory. The group of 8 frame work does not include UAFA and that will lead to wasted time on gridlock. Besides, John McCain stated LGBTl immigration is not a paramount priority, and that is blantant wrong. We should urge President Obama to introduce his bill. Urge Harry Reid to couple UAFA with VAWA and move on.

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  24. Loc Nguyen says:

    For the last ten years, 4080 nights i ve been so lonely and painfull. I dont know how to bring my Vietnamese partner here where I have to work so hard to support my family. This gives me the hope, thank you Obama. I really voted for you. I am not out to all my straight friends but they talked to me about gay marriages before 2012 election, some dont care about it, many are ok with gay marriage

  25. Paul Sobrie says:

    I have a serious issue with the nationalistic tone going on in these comments and on the IE-website in general. I am a Belgian citizen, living in the US, married in Belgium a year ago with my American partner. In the meanwhile, our marriage is recognized in Washington State, as ssm was approved by popular vote over here last November. My 5years-visa is expiring next October with no extention possibilities, so these are very stressful times for us. But there is an issue that bothers me a bit in this whole presentation “choosing between the person you love and the country you love”. I think there’s some misplaced nationalism going on, disrespectful towards the foreign half of each binational couple who loves his country probably more than the US too and if eventually this couple decides to move over here: apparently you assume that it’s a less hard choice for this foreign partner to move over here! I mean: I live here as a foreigner, far away from my (beloved) country too (where btw, same sex marriage is possible for over 10 years), and I made this so-called difficult choice too moving over here, despite the fact that immigration-wise it would have been much easier the other way around! I feel a bit disrespected by the whole tone of IE and the comments I read above: you present it like it’s per definition worse for the American partner to have to move overseas than the foreign partner to move to the US! Let me tell you: in my case… I am fine here in the US… but I don’t see any reason to prefer the US above my own country. The only reason why we made this choice is because my American husband had a better career going on over here and that he would loose his retirement benifits and I speak 6 languages, and we assumed that therefore it would have been easier for me to make a new life over here (which seemed to be wrong: my visa doesn’t allow me to be employed). I see a couple of comments of Americans that “were forced to move to Italy”. I’m sorry, but Italy is a wonderful country, don’t make it sound as if you had to leave to an unhospitable country. To start with: apparently Italy is welcoming you more as a same sex partner than the US is. Apparently not such a bad country! And two: If one day it will be made possible for you both to leave Italy, your Italian partner/wife/husband will have to make a hard choice too!
    So please, you’re missing the point : this is not about what is now presented about having to be “banned” from the US, but rather about every same sex binational couple having the liberty to choose to live in the country that suits them the most, the same choice straight couples can make. In this sense, this is not even an immigration-to-the-US issue.

  26. Ksenija says:

    I have a question for you. I have a student visa and I would like to bring my partner here, so do you know how I can do that beside trying to get scholarship for her?

    Thank you.

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  29. Josue David Mendoza says:

    Greetings from Santiago, Chile. What turned to be a simple study abroad trip, turned to a love story and find myself, four years later, still trying to adapt to this country. My partner and I are rooting for DOMA to be overturned as we are both eagerly waiting for the day when he will finally be able to meet my family back in Seattle and both be able to call the USA home. Thank you all for your support back home, we are doing what we can from ¨the end of the world¨ to get the message out about the issue.

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