This Thursday, the Senate Judiciary Committee will begin consideration of the bipartisan immigration bill that was introduced last month. This means that the committee will consider and vote on amendments to the bill. The committee will be meeting over the next two and a half weeks – and perhaps beyond – to discuss and vote on these amendments. Immigration Equality will be watching the committee process closely following the Uniting American Families Act and other issues that matter to LGBT immigrants and their families.
This afternoon, Senator Leahy filed two amendments to the Senate immigration bill that help LGBT immigrant families. One amendment is the Uniting American Families Act. The other amendment is similar and provides the same immigration benefits that our families would receive if DOMA were repealed.
Committee members, any of whom can offer amendments, agreed to file all amendments today to give one another enough time to read and consider the amendments. These amendments were then posted on the Senate Judiciary Committee website for the public to read as well. Amendments Leahy-6 and Leahy-7 are the amendments for LGBT immigrant families.
As always, we are proud to call Senator Leahy a champion for our families and thank him for filing these amendments that would end discrimination against LGBT immigrant families.
Chairman Leahy and the committee will be deciding daily exactly in which order amendments will be considered. The decision to offer a specific amendment will likely occur just a day – or more often, just a few hours – before that amendment would come up for a vote! Thus, we will mobilize our supporters to act immediately as soon as we know that one of these amendments will be offered for a vote.
What’s the bottom line?
Adding an amendment to protect our families in the committee is the best strategy for being included in a Senate immigration bill. As reported in the media, our many champions and friends on the committee are being pressured by some opponents to leave us out. We need to keep asking our friends on the committee to stand firm with us and, when the time comes, to vote for an amendment that supports our families.
What can I do right now?
1) Sign up to be a part of our “emergency call-in team.” The moment UAFA comes up as an amendment in committee, Senators will need to hear from you. As a part of the emergency call-in team, you’ll be the first to know and we’ll let you know exactly how to take action.
2) Starting Thursday, we’ll be highlighting a different member of the Senate Judiciary Committee every day on our social media. We’ll tell you who to call and what to say. Follow us on Facebook and Twitter to keep up with all ten days of the campaign (and other important news!)
3) If you haven’t already, call your own Senators to ask them to support including LGBT families and UAFA in immigration reform. So far, our supporters have made over 700 calls to the Senate; help us reach our goal of 1,000!
May will be a big month for our families and for the immigration issue as a whole. We will be keeping you up to date on every development, and when we say it’s time to act, it’s truly because it is a critical moment to win. Thank you in advance for taking action at this time when our families need you the most.