Florida Families Demand Senator Rubio Stop Attacking LGBT Immigrant Families
By Ameesha Sampat and Marco Quiroga on 05/17/2013 @ 02:00 PM
Families Will Protest & Deliver Petitions to Senator's Miami Office on Wednesday
Florida families will be joined by advocates of inclusive immigration reform to demand that Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) to stop opposing the inclusion of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) families in the Senate’s comprehensive immigration reform bill. Advocates will be joined by South Florida residents, voters and activists as they deliver petitions, signed by individuals from across the country, insisting that Senator Rubio stop his attacks on LGBT immigrants.
Marco Antonio Quiroga, grassroots organizer for Immigration Equality Action Fund
Felipe Sousa Matos, co-director of GetEQUAL
Natalie Casal, Dream Defenders
Maria Asuncion Bilbao and Ale Saucedo, DREAMers' Moms
Unlike straight Americans, LGBT citizens have no option under current immigration law to sponsor their spouses or partners for residency in the United States. Senator Rubio, a member of the Senate “Gang of 8” that crafted the Senate’s immigration bill, insists on excluding LGBT immigrant families. Floridians will gather outside his Miami office to demand that he stop opposing an amendment for LGBT families.
Wednesday, May 22, 2013 12pm
Miami offices of Senator Marco Rubio 5669 NW 36th Street – Doral, FL
Senators McCain and Graham: Stop your bullying!
By Marco Quiroga on 05/14/2013 @ 11:30 AM
Our opponents are insisting on our exclusion from immigration reform. This is unacceptable. They need to hear from you! They need to hear from the family, friends, and those personally affected telling them that the Uniting American Families Act is about real families – it’s not a political football.
Action of the Week: Call Senators McCain and Graham today
Sens. John McCain of Arizona and Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, two Republican members of the Senate “Gang of Eight” on immigration, are bullying our friends, and are working overtime to keep LGBT families out of immigration reform. And we cannot let them get away with it.
Senator McCain, when asked if the provision were included, said: “Before we get that far, I’ll do everything in my power to see that it’s not there.” McCain said the provision was “not necessary” for the immigration bill. This is unacceptable, our families’ inclusion is absolutely necessary, and Senator McCain needs to hear from you today!
Senator John McCain of Arizona: (202) 224-2235
Senator Graham called the Uniting American Families Act inclusion in immigration reform a “bad idea” and has pushed others to vote against it. A permanent solution to the struggle our families face is not a “bad idea” but a just and fair one and Senator Graham needs a call from you today!
Senator Lindsey Graham of South Carolina: (202) 224-5972
These Senators have to receive this message, and we need you to help us deliver it:
“My name is ____________________and I support the Uniting American Families Act. [Briefly describe why this issue is important and personal to you]… Close with: So, I am calling today to ask the Senator to stop demeaning gays and instead help real American families! I ask that the Senator stop opposing the Uniting American Families Act and gay families’ inclusion in immigration reform because our families matter, too.”
Your voice matters, our families matter, and you making these calls matters.
By Dotty Albright on 05/12/2013 @ 11:00 AM
I'm the mother of a wonderful daughter who is in a binational relationship. My daughter Jensi and daughter-in-law Carmen have been together for more than seven years and got married in December of last year. But, like thousands of other binational couples, Jensi can't sponsor Carmen for a green card to stay together as a family with a stable future here in the U.S.
I've never been a very political person, but things are different when your family is on the line. For example, last year my husband and I knocked doors, made phone calls, and did about everything we could to win marriage equality in my home state of Maine.
And a few weeks ago, I was lucky enough to get to travel to Washington D.C. to join my daughter to lobby our Members of Congress to support binational families in immigration reform. Not only that, but I was just one of many moms who were there supporting their own children. (The picture is a little blurry, but that's Jensi and me on the left!)
And now, I've joined the emergency call-in team so I'll be ready when our families get voted on as an amendment. Signing up is easy; I hope you'll join me. It's the least I can do for my daughter and her wife.
Mothers know — we would do anything to support our children and our families. Any day now, the Senate Judiciary committee could be voting on an amendment to include LGBT immigrant families — like my daughter's — in the immigration reform bill. As a member of the emergency call-in team, I'll be ready to act when that moment comes.
Happy Mother's Day to all.
NY Stands Firm
By Marco Quiroga on 05/09/2013 @ 11:00 AM
Sen. Schumer, say you will vote "YES" on UAFA
Wednesday, Immigration Equality, Make the Road New York, and DRM Action Coalition, held a press conference in front of Senator Schumer's New York City offices. Leaders of the organizations were unwavering in their commitment for the inclusion of LGBT families in immigration reform. At the press conference, families who are personally affected by this discrimination along with organizational leaders urged Senator Schumer to publicly commit to voting "YES". Yes to the Uniting American Families Act as an amendment to the senate immigration bill in the Senate Judiciary Committee.
I had the personal privilege to stand alongside an inspirational couple, Pablo and Santiago, who so clearly are incredibly in love and have built a life with each other for over 20 years. As they looked at one another and the crowd and passionately told their story and their struggle to remain in New York together, the place they love and call home, their voices trembled. Their love and need for an urgent permanent solution hit home with everyone present. Their voices strengthened and elevated as they said "Senator Schumer needs to commit to voting "yes" on Uniting American Families Act and lead in the Senate for our family." As proud New Yorkers, they emphasized that "New York has come so far, the citizens of New York support gay relationships and LGBT families.As New Yorkers, we do not want our family to live in fear of separation. and we need the Uniting American Families Act to help our family stay together."
Nicole Teyuca, an LGBT DREAMer from Make the Road NY, and I both spoke about how difficult the double struggle of coming out of the closet and coming out of the shadows as undocumented is. Carlos Vargas of DRM Action Coalition said that even though he is not gay, as a DREAMer, he had to come out of the closet once as well and this is an experience that all DREAMers face and why his community is unwavering in their support for inclusive-immigration reform.
Rachel Tiven, Executive Director of Immigration Equality who spoke last summarized our need for Senator Schumer to publicly say he will vote 'yes' on UAFA and emphasized that "we want him to say to his colleagues on both sides of the aisle what we believe to be true - that including LGBT families will strengthen immigration reform," as any advancement for our community would strengthen our nation.
We're one step closer.
By Kathryn Baxter on 05/08/2013 @ 01:00 PM
Last night, Senator Leahy filed two amendments to the Senate immigration bill that would help LGBT binational families. One amendment is the Uniting American Families Act. The other amendment is similar and provides equal protection to married bi-national same sex couples that other spouses receive under existing immigration law.
Senator Leahy could offer either of the amendments he filed today for a vote during the committee’s consideration of the immigration bill. Immigration Equality fully supports both of these amendments.
Senator Leahy has been a long-time champion of LGBT immigrants and their families. By filing these amendments, Senator Leahy has shown that he is standing with us. Now we need you to call to stand with him.
You can do this in two easy steps:
- Call Senator Leahy’s office at (202) 224-4242.
- Tell the office: “I want to thank Senator Leahy for filing amendments to the immigration bill that would help LGBT immigrant families. [Personal story or connection to the issue here.] I am proud to call Senator Leahy a champion for our families.”
After you’ve called, be sure to register for our emergency-call in team. The moment one of Senator Leahy’s amendments for our families comes up for a vote, Senators will need to hear from you! A vote on the amendments could be held within hours of it being offered. As part of the team, you’ll be the first to know that it’s time to act.
Thanks in advance for making these calls. We’re counting on champions like Senator Leahy – and supporters like you – to win for all of our families.
We’re on the Hill. Are you on the phone?
By Meghan Austin on 04/24/2013 @ 11:06 AM
A few days ago, my partner received a depressing letter from her visa sponsor. “Your temporary visa will end on June 30,” it said. “You have 30 days to leave the country. Let me know when you book your flight!” The cheerful exclamation point was too much to take. Why should my partner get a letter like this, when a straight couple gets a visa?
Right now, I’m standing on the steps of the Capitol with 50 other families from 27 states to let Congress know: we’re not leaving. Our families are meeting with your Senators to demand inclusion in the immigration bill. We’re walking to their offices now.
While we’re hopeful that the Supreme Court will strike down DOMA, we can’t put all our eggs in one basket. Immigration reform is moving now, and we can get our families added to the bill in committee, if we keep the pressure on.
If I can’t sponsor my partner for a visa soon, she will lose her job as a teacher. We may have to leave our home. I’m here with families from all over the country and love exiles from all over the world. We can’t rely on the Supreme Court to decide our fate — but our Senators can protect our families today.
P.S. Each call you make and report enters you into our Safe Haven Giveaway to win a free trip to New York for the Safe Haven Awards gala on May 29. Restrictions apply. See official rules for details.
P.P.S. If you’re already called your Senators, thanks! Please pass along the link to your friends and family. Let them know why this matters to you: http://imeqactionfund.org/call/
It's a big day for us... help make it even bigger.
By Rachel Tiven on 04/22/2013 @ 11:30 AM
Today is a big day on Capitol Hill for LGBT binational families. Jim Kolbe, former Congressman from Arizona and a member of a binational family, will be speaking as a witness at the Senate’s hearing on immigration reform.
In his testimony, Congressman Kolbe will have the chance to speak to Senators directly about the struggles that binational same-sex couples face. But just because you won’t be at the witness table doesn’t mean that you can’t tell your Senators what this issue means to you, too.
The Senate immigration bill that was released last week includes many strong components that will help immigrants and their families, but it does not include protections for same-sex binational couples. Our best chance to be added to the bill is by an amendment in committee and these votes will likely begin in just a matter of weeks, even days. This means we have a limited window to show our force on Capitol Hill and demonstrate that LGBT families will not stand by while a bill passes us by.
Yes, this email may sound urgent, but for a good reason. Immigration reform is moving NOW, and we can’t miss this chance to ensure that our families are a part of it. We won’t know the outcome of the Supreme Court ruling until late June, and by then, we’ll have missed our best (and perhaps only) shot to be included in legislation.
Don’t look back and wonder if your call could have made a difference. Do your part on behalf of all of our families by calling right now.
1,000 calls to Congress right now.
By Rachel Tiven on 04/18/2013 @ 11:30 AM
Yesterday, the Senate “Gang of Eight” released their immigration reform bill.
While the legislation includes many positive components, including a path to citizenship, the DREAM Act, and changes that will help asylum seekers, the bill does not include the Uniting American Families Act or any protections for LGBT binational families.
The legislation introduced today isn’t comprehensive; it’s a compromise that leaves families behind.
But you can do something to change this. Our goal is to make 1,000 calls to the Senate to share the message that the Senate’s immigration bill is incomplete without our families.
Here’s what you need to do:
- Go to the easy calling tool on our website and enter your address. This is how we provide you with the phone numbers for your Senators’ offices. (If you live outside the US, enter the last address where you lived or the address where you wish to return.)
- Call your senator’s office at the phone number provided using the call script provided in the calling tool.
- Repeat step two, calling your other senator and delivering the same message.
- Report back your calls. Fill out the brief form to let us know who you called. This is a critical step, as it helps us track how many calls we’ve made.
We will not give Senators of either party a pass on the inclusion of our families in immigration reform. We have a strategy to fix this in the Judiciary Committee so that a fully inclusive bill makes it to the Senate floor and, ultimately, to the President’s desk. But that strategy depends on you making these calls!
We need every family, every supporter, every voice speaking out, and speaking out now. After you've made your calls, forward this email and ask your parents, siblings, and friends to call, too. Let's make 1,000 calls this week to make sure that comprehensive immigration reform is truly comprehensive.
Florida Activists Call on Elected Leaders to Support LGBT-Inclusive Immigration Reform
By Marco Quiroga on 04/17/2013 @ 10:50 AM
Just days before the Senate “Gang of 8” unveiled their comprehensive immigration reform bill, a diverse coalition of grassroots organizations in Florida gathered at Miami Pride in support of legislation that provides equal treatment for LGBT immigrants and their families.
On April 15th, Florida advocates held a press conference as they delivered a letter tot eh office of Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL), a member of the "Gang of 8" lawmakers spearheading the bill. Similar letters were also delivered to the Miami offices of legislators who have so far been silent on the issue of LGBT inclusion in immigration reform. Those offices included Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL), a strong supporter of LGBT equality and a co-sponsor of the DREAM Act; Rep. Mario Diaz-Balart (R-FL), a member of the House "Gang of 8" working on legislation in that chamber; and Senator Bill Nelson (D-FL), a DREAM co-sponsor and supporter of marriage equality.
The coalition includes DREAM Act-eligible youth and their mothers, as well as civil, immigrant and LGBT rights organizations such as the Florida Immigrant Coalition and the Queer Undocumented Immigrant Project (a project of United We Dream).
In their letter, the groups call for immigration reform that:
Includes the Uniting American Families Act, to end the untenable situation many Florida LGBT binational couples and their families face of being forced to make the terrible choice of separating, or leaving the country to live in exile;
Provides a timely, clear and humane pathway to citizenship for undocumented people;
Prioritizes family unity by preserving existing family categories, increasing visas for family categories, reducing wait times for separated families, and ending the discrimination in immigration law that LGBT binational families face;
Ensures humane enforcement of immigration laws, including due process rights and reforms to immigration detention;
Guarantees full workplace rights, including wage protections, mobility and the right to organize; and
Lifts the one-year filing deadline for asylum.
The Senate's bill is the most ambitious overhaul of the nation's immigration system in three decades. The groups noted that “the opportunity to pass inclusive and humane comprehensive immigration reform is a critical, once-in-a-generation opportunity. LGBT families cannot continue to be locked out of the system, suffering separation and exile. LGBT families, and our undocumented loved ones, must be included in comprehensive immigration reform now.”
Organizations signing onto the letter include:
Aqua Foundation for Women
Florida Immigrant Coalition
Florida Immigrant Youth Network
Queer Undocumented Immigrant Project, a project of United We Dream
National TransLatina Coalition
Students Working for Equal Rights (S.W.E.R.) - North Campus, Kendall Campus & InterAmerican Campus of Miami-Dade College; as well as Wolfson MDS; Homestead; St. Thomas University; and Florida International University S.W.E.R.
Unity Coalition | Coalición Unida
To read the Miami Herald's coverage of the press conference, click here.
Allied Organizations Stand Together for Inclusive Immigration Reform
Posted on 04/11/2013 @ 11:00 AM
Over 100 LGBT & Allied Organizations Stand Together to Call for Broad Immigration Reform that also Helps LGBT Immigrants
As the fight for immigrant justice in our nation heats up, the march to equality must be an inclusive one for all our families, which includes our immigrant LGBT brothers and sisters. Immigration Equality, in a letter to Members of Congress and the President, joins over 100 LGBT and allied organizations to call for immigration reform that helps the LGBT immigrant community in many ways, and to show that the LGBT and allied groups who signed stand ready to fight with all immigrants and our champions in Congress and the President for immigration reform.
If we are to fix our country’s broken immigration system, shaping it into a more humane and compassionate system based in the values of our country’s founding principles, we have to mend the cracks at all levels. This is the only way we can finally end the cycle of discrimination and inequality that has resulted in individuals being pushed into a second class membership of our society. These over 100 organizations are fully dedicated to immigrant justice to all individuals, not just a select few…because we are all a part of a society that whole-heartedly believes in the American Dream.
Currently, LGBT immigrants are disproportionately discriminated upon in U.S. immigration law, and if this were to remain, the cycle of individuals pushed into living in the closets and shadows of our society will continue. No reform is comprehensive if it does not address the discrimination of LGBT individuals, many who face the terrible choice of separating from their partner, or leaving the country and communities they love to live in exile.
The LGBT community will be a powerful force for immigration reform. We stand ready to mobilize our grassroots networks in support of comprehensive immigration reform that once-and-for-all ends the cycles of inequality at all levels and brings relief to all our families. Now is the time for congress to act and pass comprehensive immigration legislation that provides a timely, clear and humane pathway to citizenship for undocumented people; prioritizes family unity by preserving existing family categories, increases visas for family categories, reduces wait times for separated families, and ends the discrimination in immigration law that LGBT binational families face; ensures humane enforcement of immigration laws, includes due process rights and reforms to immigration detention; guarantees full workplace rights, including wage protections, mobility and the right to organize; and lifts the one-year filing deadline for asylum.
This is our once-in-a-generation opportunity and Immigration Equality and our allies are here to say, we will not let this opportunity, to finally bring the dignity, security, and justice ALL our families deserve, to pass us by.
Sign our petition!
Posted on 04/10/2013 @ 12:06 PM
Our immigration system is broken, and you have the opportunity to fix it. But you need to act now: Sign the petition to tell Congress and President Obama that LGBTQ immigant families are counting on them!
With talks around Comprehensive Immigration Reform heating up, your signature and outreach will help make your members of congress and the President understand this as an issue with a broad range of support – one that affects many people from all across our country. By signing, you are demonstrating your commitment to ending the discrimination our LGBT families, neighbors, and friends face in U.S. immigration law. By sharing, you are helping us educate our communities and strengthening our movement, so others can join us in our fight for equality.
Use your voice; sign the petition and help spread our message.
Queer&A: Meet our new Grassroots Organizer Marco
By Ameesha Sampat on 03/30/2013 @ 12:30 PM
As we redouble our efforts to organize our supporters and put pressure on lawmakers to pass an LGBT-inclusive immigration reform bill, Immigration Equality is growing to match the movement. Meet Marco, the newest member of the Immigration Equality family. Marco joins us as the national Grassroots Organizer to take full advantage of opportunities to advance immigration rights for LGBT people over the next year and beyond.
Name: Marco Antonio Quiroga
Position: Grassroots Organizer
How did you get involved in grassroots organizing?
I got started with grassroots organizing because of the necessity in my life to be able to talk to individuals about issues that affected me. Being undocumented, to just get the services and resources I needed, it was hard to get by without being able to fully express who I was. I needed to be able to speak to people in positions of power, like teachers and administration, and also be able to communicate with my own peers about issues in my life. That was beginning. I was organizing people around my issues even though I was not conscious of it.
What’s your interest in immigrant rights?
Growing up as an undocumented person of color who was also gay, I always felt as if I was a third class member of a society that rejected my family and who I was. My interest comes from my personal experience and my family’s struggle to make ends meet, when we were just trying to contribute and give back to our community.
When I was little, my mom was an inspirational person – she worked three jobs at a time as a domestic worker, cleaning homes, sweeping floors, at the airport, hotels. Anyone who says they don’t know an undocumented person, I tell them: they’re in your neighborhoods and classrooms, they’re your neighbors. And they’re not being given the same opportunities. I saw people around me excel, but when I was offered opportunities, I couldn’t take them because of my circumstance. It really fired me up – I wanted to fix that. Going to college was a big deal for me and I was so fortunate to be able to do so, but there are so many people in similar situations who can’t and won’t be able to go to college. Being able to open a path for those people and advance immigrant rights is really important to me.
I’ve also been separated from my little brother for over 8 years. He’s back in Lima, Peru, and he’s gay. He tells me stories of how he’s harassed in a country that has no LGBT protections. He lives in a country he’s afraid to be in, but can’t leave to be with his family. This is why family reunification, asylum, and a pathway to citizenship are so important to me, along with LGBT protections. This is a personal issue for me.
What are you hoping to accomplish at Immigration Equality?
My goal is to bring about broad immigration reform through really activating the community, showing what a desperate need there is throughout the country to bring these types of protections. In my role, I hope to make sure individuals understand Immigration Equality’s core values in wanting to empower individuals, connect families, protect individual rights, and create communities where people feel safe and included.
What’s the most surprising part of your job?
I think what surprises me most is the amount of work that Immigration Equality does that the general community isn't aware of, particularly the work that Immigration Equality does in regards to asylum and detention and reaching out to individual families, listening to their concerns, and really having a connection to individuals that are marginalized in our society.
What’s next on your list after achieving your goals related to LGBT and immigrant advocacy?
My vision for LGBT immigrants in the United States goes beyond marriage equality, it goes beyond comprehensive immigration reform. There’s a huge need within the queer immigrant community to address issues of education disparities, socioeconomic disparities, health disparities, religious disparities in regards to cultures that need to be challenged and changed, and achieve overall a fuller sense of inclusiveness in society. So I think my work will continue on past LGBT immigration.
They'll be there. Will you?
By Kathryn Baxter on 03/15/2013 @ 06:04 PM
Our Lobby Days are just over a month away, our supporter. Will you be there?
This year’s Lobby Days (April 23-24) are the first ever to bring together supporters and families from across the country — and around the globe — to meet with their Members of Congress here in DC. Sharing your story during in-person meetings with your Members of Congress is one of the most effective ways to push for comprehensive immigration reform that includes ALL families. But don’t just take it from me! Past and future Lobby Day participants wanted to tell you about their lobbying experiences and why they’re coming this year.
“Even from across the Atlantic, there is a palpable feeling that our moment is now. For couples like Benn and me, who were forced out of the US, we can't afford to miss this chance. It is imperative our lawmakers appreciate that immigration equality is neither an unimportant issue nor an issue affecting but a small number of people. We are coming to Washington next month because we refuse to let Congress sweep our cause under the rug.”
— Brandon and Benn, Lobby Days 2013 participants
“At first we were a little nervous about sharing our story and lobbying our Members of Congress. But Immigration Equality trained us in how to tell our story and how to be an effective advocate for our own family and the thousands of families just like us. We had a great meeting with our Congressman and had the chance to talk about what UAFA would mean for our own family. We were thrilled when — a little while later — we received a call from a Van Hollen staffer that he was signing on as a co-sponsor! We feel proud of the fact that our lobbying made a difference.”
— Kelly and Fabiola, former lobby day participants
“Meeting in person with members of both Houses of Congress was amazing! We reminded our representatives of how urgent the need to help our families is. Even those with an opposing viewpoint were able to lend a sympathetic ear. Until every representative can hear all of our stories, they will never truly understand the pain and suffering our families have endured.”
— Lenora, former lobby day participant
This is the time — more than ever before — to have your voice heard. Join Brandon, Ben, and the Immigration Equality team to meet with your Members of Congress in DC. If you have any questions, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
We’ll see you in DC soon!
Andrew Sullivan invites you to ...
By Andrew Sullivan on 03/11/2013 @ 12:31 PM
The U.S. may soon join the ranks of most civilized nations in not forcing American citizens to choose between their country and the person they love. No other major Western democracy treats gay couples as strangers to one another in immigration the way the US still does.
I sit on the board of this vital organization because my marriage license is regarded as toilet paper by the federal government.
If Aaron and I were to move to Britain, our relationship alone would give him "permanent leave to remain" in the lovely phrase of Britain's immigration services. Here? For years, before I got my green card last year, we were warned not even to travel together in entering America. A stable relationship with an American citizen will make you more likely to be subjected to scrutiny from border guards. We lived under a cloud of immense strain and heartache.
As an immigrant, I value accepting and adapting to the existing customs and traditions of my new home. I came here in part to start over. I came not to be an Anglo-American or a gay American, but just an American. And when that is the emphasis in immigration policy debates, immigrants will win - gay and straight. As, in America, they so often have.
Rally in Washington April 10th
By Rachel Tiven on 03/08/2013 @ 04:52 PM
Please join me and the Immigration Equality family for a rally at the U.S. Capitol on Wednesday, April 10th.
Immigration Equality supporters will join allies including the Center for Community Change and CASA de Maryland to call for fair, inclusive and compassionate immigration reform that helps all immigrants and their families. Along with faith leaders and immigration advocates from around the country, we’ll come together in support of reform that offers an achievable path to citizenship; the DREAM Act for undocumented young people; and an end to the separation and exile LGBT families face under current immigration law.
Marchers are invited to join us at Immigration Equality’s Washington, DC offices (at 1325 Massachusetts Avenue, NW) beginning at 1:30pm on the 10th. You’ll be able to meet our staff, and your fellow marchers, and pick up a free Immigration Equality t-shirt. Then, we’ll head to the West Lawn of the Capitol together for the 3:30 rally.
It is critical, as Congress begins work on immigration reform, that we have a strong, visible presence on Capitol Hill. This is our moment to ensure our families are not left behind.
Congressman Yarmuth Signs On as UAFA Co-Sponsor
By Julie Kruse on 03/01/2013 @ 12:00 PM
Yesterday, Congressman John Yarmuth (D-KY-03), signed on as a first time co-sponsor of the Uniting American Families Act (UAFA). The bill now has over sixty co-sponsors in the House of Representatives. Congressman Yarmuth has long been an advocate of LGBT rights and Immigration Equality is thrilled to see him join the ranks of Congressional supporters of UAFA.
Congressman Yarmuth today became the first ever UAFA co-sponsor from the state of Kentucky. This broadening of support is nothing but good news for the Uniting American Families Act. We want the broadest support possible for an LGBT-inclusive immigration reform bill and Congressman Yarmuth’s support helps get us there.
We would like to extend a personal thank you to Congressman Yarmuth for his support. Remember that you can contact your Member of Congress and ask him or her to sign on as well! With each co-sponsor, we are one step closer to UAFA-inclusive immigration reform legislation.
VAWA passes Congress with LGBT-inclusive protections
By Julie Kruse on 03/01/2013 @ 10:00 AM
Yesterday, Immigration Equality and advocates across the country celebrated the reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA). The version of VAWA that passed included greater protections for LGBT people, immigrants, and Native Americans.
The manner in which the bill was passed is a promising sign for LGBT inclusion in upcoming immigration reform. In a bi-partisan vote, the House of Representatives voted down a non-inclusive version of the bill so that it could take up and eventually pass the Senate version of the bill, which includes increased protections for these communities.
We are so grateful to the wonderful allied organizations who worked for the passage of a strong, inclusive VAWA, including the Anti-Violence Project, the National Center for Transgender Equality, the Human Rights Campaign, the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force, the National Latina Institute for Reproductive Health, and many others. We look forward to harnessing this momentum to work together towards more LGBT-inclusive legislation – including comprehensive immigration reform.
Safe Haven Award Winners
By Rachel Tiven on 03/01/2013 @ 09:45 AM
I am delighted to announce the 2013 Safe Haven honorees. Our May 29th gala is co-chaired by board members Andrew Sullivan and Randy Feuerstein, and we will be joined by special guest Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg.
This year’s pro bono award winners were selected from among the 40 law firms that devote more than $15 million in legal services to Immigration Equality’s clients — winning a record 121 cases last year, a 99% success rate. The 2013 pro bono winners are Latham & Watkins; Paul, Weiss; Ropes & Gray; and Skadden.
We are also thrilled to honor two stellar members of our Business Coalition for the Uniting American Families Act: Intel and Marriott International. These companies have gone above and beyond in supporting inclusion of LGBT families in immigration reform.
We will present a Global Vision Award to activists Ray Fisher & Juan Carlos Palomino, a binational couple living in London. Ray has been an invaluable member of the Immigration Equality board since 2009. He and Juan Carlos have devoted themselves to Immigration Equality’s success, giving generously of their time, money, and insight. They look forward to the day when no one has to live in exile.
P.S. What does it mean to be on the Host Committee?
Host Committee members help ensure the financial success of the Safe Haven Awards in two key ways. First, they donate at the $1070 “Green Card” level or higher. Second, they sell tickets and recruit five or more friends to join them for this incredible evening. In exchange, host committee members are listed on event materials and are invited to a special invitation signing party on April 15th. To be listed on the print invitation, please join the Host Committee by Friday, March 15.
Lobby in DC!
By Julie Kruse on 02/27/2013 @ 04:55 PM
It’s been a busy few months here in DC, with bill introductions, hearings, press conferences, and more. Now, we’re inviting you, our supporter, to be a part of the action! Immigration reform will be moving forward in Congress this spring and summer, so on April 23-24, Immigration Equality will be hosting our DC Lobby Days. This is the first time we have held national Lobby Days for members and supporters from across the fifty United States (and across the world!), and we want you to be a part of it.
We make it easy — we’ll train you, we’ll set up your appointments, we’ll support you through the whole process. But it just won’t be a success without you here to tell your story.
Meeting with your Members of Congress is one of the most effective things you can do to push for comprehensive immigration reform that includes LGBT families. When a Member has a face-to-face meeting with a constituent affected by this issue (or their friends or family), they remember your faces, they remember your stories, and they want to fight for you.
Join us on Tuesday the 23rd for an afternoon of mandatory training to learn the latest on immigration reform and practice telling your story. Then, on Wednesday the 24th, we’ll take to Capitol Hill for a day of meeting with legislators and a Business and Family reception in the evening. Not only is this a great opportunity to push your elected officials to ensure LGBT families are a part of comprehensive immigration reform, but it’s also a chance to connect with families and friends from across the country and around the globe who care deeply about this issue.
If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to email Kathryn, our Legislative Assistant, at email@example.com.
Looking forward to seeing you in DC soon!
Co-sponsors Old and New Sign on to UAFA
By Laura Hoch on 02/27/2013 @ 10:30 AM
On Wednesday, February 13th Senator Patrick Leahy (D-VT) reintroduced the Uniting American Families Act (UAFA), along with Senator Susan Collins (R-ME), Senator Charles Schumer (D-NY), Senator Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), Senator Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), and Senator Tammy Baldwin (D-WI). This week, they were joined by seven additional co-sponsors: Senator Tom Harkin (D-IA), Senator Barbara Boxer (D-CA), Senator Mazie Hirono (D-HI), Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), Senator William “Mo” Cowan (D-MA), Senator Al Franken (D-MN), and Senator Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI).
Immigration Equality would like to thank all thirteen Senate sponsors of the Uniting American Families Act for standing up for the rights of LGBT families and binational couples. We would like to especially recognize all of our new co-sponsors. Senator Klobuchar, a long time supporter of LGBT rights, is a first time co-sponsor of UAFA. Senator Hirono and Senator Baldwin were previous co-sponsors as members of the House of Representatives and have now signed on to the Senate version after making the move to the upper chamber of Congress. Senators Warren and Cowan (who was recently appointed as the replacement to Senator Kerry) of Massachusetts, both first time members of Congress, also signed on to the Uniting American Families Act on Monday.
If you do not see your Senators’ name, write them and tell them that you want binational couples and LGBT families included in immigration reform! Contact your Senator today and ask him or her to sign on as a co-sponsor of the Uniting American Families Act.