Congressional Champions Speak Out
By Julie Kruse on 05/30/2012 @ 11:42 AM
Increasingly, members of Congress are championing an immediate end to the suffering of LGBT families being hurt by discriminatory immigration laws. They are demanding changes to the law so that LGBT Americans can sponsor our partners and children for immigration. They are insisting that until the law is changed, the Obama administration must stop harming families unconstitutionally and provide interim relief. They are advocating for constituents’ individual cases with the Department of Homeland Security. They are primed on this issue, and ready to fight for legislation when a window of opportunity opens.
Below are video clips of members of Congress who are key leaders on immigration reform speaking out for LGBT immigrants and their families.
Congresswoman Zoe Lofgren
“It’s …a matter of making justice happen sooner rather than later.” Congresswoman Lofgren is the ranking Democrat on the House Subcommittee on Immigration Policy and Enforcement. She was a lead author of a letter with 48 other House members to DHS and DOJ demanding that green card applications for gay and lesbian spouses not be denied. In this speech at a Business Coalition for the Uniting American Families Act reception earlier this spring, she demands passage of UAFA and an immediate end to the denial of green cards for gay spouses.
Congressman Joe Crowley
"It’s a kind of torture that takes place…this ought to be part of any broad immigration reform that we do." Congressman Crowley is a leader on immigration issues for the Irish community and a key player on immigration reform. In this impassioned speech, he speaks about how discriminatory laws cannot ultimately defeat love, and why families need immediate relief.
Congressman Jerry Nadler
"I feel very strongly that governments should not be cruel unnecessarily.” Congressman Nadler is the ranking Democrat on the House Subcommittee on the Constitution. He is the lead sponsor of the Uniting American Families Act, and authored a letter signed by 68 other House members demanding that the administration put in writing a policy against deporting LGBT family members of US citizens. In these remarks, he presses for passage of UAFA and an end to the “gratuitous cruelty” caused by our discriminatory immigration laws.
Senator Patrick Leahy
"Ms. Ueda was faced with the impossible decision of choosing between her spouse and leaving the United States. Our Federal laws may split their family apart. This is unfair and it is wrong. … Passage of [the Uniting American Families Act] would help put our country on par with over 25 other developed countries that value and respect human rights." Senator Leahy, chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, recently submitted a statement to the Congressional record supporting Vermont binational LGBT families and urging a change in the law. Senator Leahy is the lead sponsor of the Uniting American Families Act (UAFA), held a Judiciary Committee hearing on UAFA in 2009, and co-authored a letter with Senator Kerry last year demanding that DHS hold green card applications of spouses in abeyance. His advocacy for impacted Vermont families has received extensive media coverage. Just last week, Senator Leahy and the rest of the Vermont delegation successfully advocated for temporary relief for Takako Ueda and her wife Frances Herbert. At the Judiciary Committee hearing earlier this year at which the committee passed repeal of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), Senator Leahy spoke about the impact of DOMA on immigration, and the Uniting American Families Act (remarks begin at 110:53).
Senator Richard Blumenthal
To DHS Secretary Janet Napolitano at the April 25, 2012 Senate Judiciary Committee Hearing on Oversight of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS): "I hope that I can work with you on this area of trying to devise solutions in the meantime [until UAFA passes] that will enable those couples to continue to be families here as we need and they deserve." (questioning begins at minute 1:11) Senator Blumenthal, a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee and the Subcommittee on Immigration, Refugees, and Border Security, has spoken repeatedly in the media - and publicly to DHS Secretary Napolitano - about keeping Connecticut LGBT binational couples together, about the need to pass UAFA, and about the need to stop denying green card applications of gay and lesbian spouses. Senator Blumenthal also filmed a My Family. Together. video with his constituent Kelli Ryan and her wife Lucy Truman after advocating with the Department of Homeland Security that Lucy's green card application not be denied.
Senator John Kerry
"We have to continue to fight to overturn DOMA and to guarantee that we reform immigration laws that just don't make sense for people so I'm going to continue to fight to do that. We need to make certain that our laws do not separate families unnecessarily.” Senator Kerry, chairman of the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations, has successfully fought to prevent the separation of Massachusetts binational gay and lesbian couples, and wrote letters to DHS and DOJ demanding that DHS hold green card applications of spouses in abeyance, rather than denying them. Nineteen other Senators signed on to these letters. Senator Kerry filmed a My Family. Together. video with John Brandoli and his mother Lenora, after successfully fighting to prevent John's husband's (and Lenora's son-in-law's) deportation.
Leader Nancy Pelosi
“I’m very proud of your [binational LGBT couples’] efforts and I’m honored to be associated with them.” Leader Pelosi, the Democratic Leader in the House of Representatives, has spoken out repeatedly for LGBT Americans with foreign national spouses and partners, and successfully fought for a family in her district to remain together, at least temporarily. In this conference call with Immigration Equality members, she thanks LGBT binational families for their patriotism, speaks of being proud to cosponsor the Uniting American Families Act and Reuniting Families Act, and urges administrative relief to stop the separation of families.
Congressman Luis Gutierrez
"Si son una familia." ["Yes these are families "] Congressman Gutierrez is a key Latino advocate for immigration reform who has demanded that LGBT families and the Uniting American Families Act be included in immigration reform legislation. In this clip on Telemundo, he explains why LGBT families should be recognized under immigration law (minute 1:17).
Congresswoman Sheila Jackson-Lee
"You can’t allow some, and not allow others" Congresswoman Jackson-Lee is a member of the House Subcommittee on Immigration Policy and Enforcement, and a stalwart supporter of the Uniting American Families Act and LGBT immigrants and their families.
My Family. Together.
Several members of Congress are joining Immigration Equality’s My Family. Together. video campaign and making short videos with affected families urging that families be allowed to remain together. Keep an eye on the campaign page as more members of Congress commit to fighting for an end to discrimination in immigration law and policy so that LGBT families can stay together in the United States.
Safe Haven Photo Booth Pix Now Available!
By Cora Lively on 05/29/2012 @ 04:28 PM
Did you take a photo at Immigration Equality's 2012 Safe Haven Awards?
Your images are now available online!
Photobooth pictures from our annual celebration and get-together are now up on Flickr! Find your photo - and share with your friends - by clicking here.
Thank you to everyone who attended. We look forward to seeing you again next year!
Photo: Keynote Speakers Jamie-Lynn Sigler and David W. Ross at the Immigration Equality Safe Haven Photo Booth.
Tell Your Rep: Don’t Hurt LGBT or Immigrant Domestic Violence Victims. Vote NO on H.R. 4970
By Julie Kruse on 05/16/2012 @ 04:17 PM
The House could hold a vote as early as tomorrow on a domestic violence bill that ignores discrimination against LGBT victims of domestic violence and removes protections for immigrant domestic violence victims. Call your Representative at (202) 224-3121 and tell them to vote NO on H.R. 4870 because it excludes LGBT victims and rolls back protections for immigrants.
One of the direct harms that the House bill would cause to LGBT survivors of domestic violence would be to change the U visa provisions so that individuals who cooperate with law enforcement to prosecute their abusers could no longer obtain lawful permanent residence for doing so. Under the current U visa law, the survivor of domestic violence can obtain a temporary visa and then lawful permanent residence for helping law enforcement to prosecute the case. The proposed change would allow for a temporary visa, but no path to permanent residence, thus making it less likely that D.V. survivors will put themselves at risk by cooperating with law enforcement.
H.R. 4970 also rolls back other protections to immigrant victims that exist in current law, and gives abusers more power, not less, over their victims.
The Senate passed a Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) reauthorization bill last month that is LGBT-inclusive. That bill passed through the Senate with a strong bi-partisan vote of 68-31. The Senate VAWA explicitly includes funding for services for LGBT victims in grant programs. It also prohibits any program or activity funded by the bill from discriminating against a victim based on their actual or perceived sexual orientation or gender identity. H.R. 4970 eliminates these critical protections.
Please call your Representative at (202) 224-3121 and tell them to vote NO on H.R. 4870 because it excludes LGBT victims and rolls back protections for immigrants.
Meet Our Plaintiffs at the Safe Haven Awards
By Rachel Tiven on 05/14/2012 @ 05:06 PM
The Safe Haven Awards are this Thursday in Manhattan! I hope you will join us, and some very special guests: The five brave families who are plaintiffs in our federal DOMA lawsuit.
These amazing couples are standing with us in court as we push for equal recognition, under the law, for LGBT immigrant families. They will all be together, in the same room, for the very first time on Thursday night.
Reserve your seat online today before tickets sell out at ImEqActionFund.org/tickets. Online registration closes Wednesday at 5pm.
We are also pleased to welcome actors Jamie-Lynn Sigler (The Sopranos, Entourage) and David W. Ross (Quinceanera) as keynote speakers. Together they co-star in the forthcoming feature film I DO, which tells the story of a gay British man living in NY who is “fighting for love, family, and a green card.” The film will premiere later this summer at festivals across the country and we will screen an exclusive preview at the Safe Haven Awards.
For one magical evening, the Safe Haven Awards bring together the entire Immigration Equality family – our pro community, business coalition partners, political champions, and loyal supporters like you. Thank you so much to everyone who has already bought tickets and donated in support of the event.
Even if you cannot attend, I hope you will consider sending a contribution in honor of our five courageous plaintiff families. Your gift sends the message that we will never give up until we can sponsor our spouses for green cards.
Join Me – and Jamie-Lynn Sigler – on May 17th
By David W. Ross on 05/04/2012 @ 12:45 PM
I hope you will join me on May 17th for Immigration Equality’s 2012 Safe Haven Awards. I’m excited to be traveling to New York for this incredible event, where I’ll also be unveiling an exclusive clip from my forthcoming film I Do. And, I’ll be joined at Safe Haven by my I Do co-star, Jamie-Lynn Sigler, who also starred in the hit HBO series The Sopranos and Entourage.
I Do tells a story that many of you are already too familiar with: The struggles faced by LGBT binational couples and their families who are trying to remain together in the United States. It is a story repeated, day after day, all across the country, and for some of you, outside America. It is a story that, I hope, will also educate the public about this unconscionable discrimination and rally support for Immigration Equality’s efforts to put an end to the threat of separation that binational couples face.
We’re not just coming to New York to preview our film, though. Jamie-Lynn and I are also looking forward to meeting you, and learning about your stories. Your families are why we made I Do. As the film opens at festivals around the country this summer, more and more people will be moved to stand with us as we work to ensure that all families are treated equally under the law.
Jamie-Lynn and I are proud to be partnering with Immigration Equality. Every day, the team at this amazing organization works tirelessly to help LGBT immigrants and their families. Your Safe Haven ticket purchase will directly support those efforts. Even if you can't attend, I hope you will make a donation to support this vital work.
Log on and purchase your ticket today, and join me and Jamie-Lynn in New York on May 17th as we say “I Do” to treating all families with the dignity, respect and equality they deserve.
I look forward to seeing you there.
Actors Jamie-Lynn Sigler & David W. Ross to Headline 2012 Safe Haven Awards
By Steve Ralls on 05/02/2012 @ 02:15 PM
Immigration Equality and the Action Fund are proud to announce our special, celebrity guests for this year’s Safe Haven Awards: Jamie-Lynn Sigler and David W. Ross, co-stars of the forthcoming feature film I Do, about the struggles faced by gay binational couples.
Sigler – best known for her critically acclaimed role in the hit HBO series The Sopranos – will join co-star Ross (who also wrote the film’s script) in premiering an exclusive clip from the film. I Do tells the story of a gay British man, living in New York, who is “fighting for love, family and a green card.” The film will premiere later this summer at festivals across the country.
Sigler's portrayal of Meadow Soprano in the HBO series earned her the 1999 and 2000 Hollywood Reporter Young Star Award for Best Actress in a Dramatic Series, as well as two ALMA Award nominations for Best Actress in a Drama Series in 2001 and 2002. She has also appeared on Broadway in Beauty and the Beast, as well as in recurring roles on the TV series Entourage and Ugly Betty. Sigler's film work includes IFC's Beneath the Dark, and the thriller Dark Ride.
David W. Ross is best known for playing Gary in the Sundance smash Quinceanera, which won both the Audience Award and Grand Jury Prize at the 2006 Sundance Film Festival and an Independent Spirit Award and GLAAD Media Award in 2007. He was one of four members of Bad Boys, Inc. a British “boy band” whose self-titled album spawned five hit singles. He has also appeared in several award-winning projects, including The Receipt, which won multiple awards including Best Comedy at the Los Angeles International Short Film Festival and Sneaux, which was nominated for 6 LA Weekly Theatre Awards, including Best Musical.
Then, purchase your tickets to join David and Jamie-Lynn in New York, on May 17th, as they debut an exclusive clip from the film, and talk about their passion for ending the discrimination faced by our families.
A First, for Families and Global Financial Business
By Chris Fleming on 04/23/2012 @ 01:00 PM
Barclays, one of the world’s leading financial institutions, has become the first financial services organization to support the Uniting American Families Act (UAFA).
With more than 140,000 employees worldwide, Barclays understands the critical need to support its workforce, including LGBT employees and their families. UAFA, which would allow lesbian and gay Americans to sponsor their foreign-born partners for immigration benefits, is key to Barclays’ ability to support a globally mobile and competitive workforce.
Immigration Equality Action Fund is proud to welcome our friends at Barclays as the first bank and 23rd corporation to sign our growing Business Coalition for UAFA.
“We aim to support our LGBT employees by being a leader in workplace policies and initiatives, and by partnering with organizations such as Immigration Equality,” said Mark McLane, head of Diversity and Inclusion at Barclays. “As a global employer with operations around the world, access to and mobility of talent is critical to our success. By signing the Business Coalition for the Uniting American Families Act we can show our support of a reform that would clearly benefit businesses such as ours.”
With more than 300 years of history, Barclays is the UK’s second largest bank and ranks #115 on the Fortune Global 500 list. The company’s endorsement of UAFA is part and parcel of its pledge to provide a fully inclusive and supportive work environment for all of its employees. Acknowledging that local policy and legislative requirements can have a major impact on its workforce, Barclays has shown – through its endorsement of UAFA – that it works to ensure every employee has every option for career mobility while protecting their families and keeping them close by.
In one of the most global sectors of the economy, Barclays is showing leadership on behalf of its LGBT employees by calling on the U.S. government to recognize their families, and the best interests of businesses in the United States.
For more information on the Business Coalition for UAFA, click here. To add your company to our growing list of business allies – and for information on how you can help recruit your company to join the Coalition – please email me at Business@ImEqActionFund.org.
Five New Co-Sponsors!
By Rachel Tiven on 04/20/2012 @ 04:08 PM
We are delighted to welcome a Senator and four Representatives in Congress onto the Uniting American Families Act.
Senator Barbara Mikulski of Maryland, the longest-serving woman in Congress, has signed onto the bill for the first time. Amazing Maryland couples have met with her staff over the past few months, and I had an opportunity to bend her ear in person recently. She absolutely understands the plight of our families and was eager to show her support. We are honored to have her as our 25th Senate cosponsor.
In the House, Rubén Hinojosa (D-TX-15), a Congressional Hispanic Caucus member from a border district and Susan Bonamici (D-OR-1), a freshman lawmaker, joined as new cosponsors. Representatives John Sarbanes (D-MD-3) and Allyson Schwartz (D-PA-13), prior cosponsors, signed on to the bill again; we are so pleased to have them back. Our Faith Coalition made a big push in Schwartz’s district, so particular thanks to Reverend Jay Newlin and the parishioners of Jenkintown United Methodist Church.
Rep. Schwartz is the only woman in Pennsylvania’s Congressional delegation and Rep. Bonamici is the only woman in Oregon’s, which got me thinking about the gender breakdown in UAFA cosponsorship. In the House, 40 of 135 cosponsors are women — a whopping 30% of our total. That’s nearly twice the percentage of women serving in Congress in the first place (17%). That means that 52% of the women in the House are cosponsors of UAFA, versus 26% of the men. In the Senate, the gender breakdown is less dramatic but still notable. Six of our current 25 cosponsors are women, or 24%. That means that 35% of the women in the Senate are cosponsors of the bill, versus 23% of the men.
Of course, our lead sponsors are wonderful men — Senator Patrick Leahy and Congressman Jerrold Nadler — which proves that great leaders come in all genders!
Announcing the 2012 Safe Haven Awards Honorees
By Guest on 04/20/2012 @ 02:04 PM
The 2012 Safe Haven Awards celebrate our shared work to bring LGBT and HIV-positive immigrants and their families together, giving them the freedom to pursue their hopes and dreams in the face of stigma and inequality.
For one incredible evening, the entire Immigration Equality family comes together – our pro bono community, political champions, business partners, and loyal supporters like you. Please join us.
Safe Haven Awards: Freedom
Thursday, May 17 / New York City
AXA Equitable Center
787 7th Avenue
(between 51st and 52nd Streets)
6:30 Cocktail reception
8:00 Awards program
Dessert reception to follow
This year’s Safe Haven Awards winners were chosen from the 40 elite law firms in our Pro Bono Asylum Program, which won asylum for 105 lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and HIV-positive people last year — a 99% success rate.
Each winning firm went above and beyond to provide top-notch legal counsel to people fleeing for their lives. This is literally life-saving work, and we are so proud to honor:
Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld LLP
Kasowitz Benson Torres & Friedman LLP
Kirkland & Ellis LLP
McDermott Will & Emery
Immigration Equality is the first and only organization in the United States devoted exclusively to LGBT and HIV-positive immigrants. Our complementary roles — as lawyers providing free legal advice and as advocates pressing for policy change — make us uniquely effective.
Over the past five years, Immigration Equality has answered more than 10,000 calls for help free of charge. Your support makes this possible. Thank you.
Your Safe Haven Awards co-chairs,
R. Martin Chavez, Adam Norbury, and Robyn Huffman
American Businesses tell Congress: Pass UAFA
By Julie Kruse on 03/22/2012 @ 03:56 PM
The Business Coalition for the Uniting American Families Act (UAFA) just completed two successful lobbying days on Capitol Hill, reaching out to thirty members of Congress in leadership and on the judiciary committees, primarily Republicans.
The six Fortune 500 companies, representing the broader coalition, sent a simple message to lawmakers: immigration laws that separate gay and lesbian families hurt their employees and their businesses and need to be fixed.
Cisco, Diageo, Intel, Marriot International, Nike and Pfizer shared the business case for passage of UAFA and inclusion of gay and lesbian families in broader immigration reform.
On Wednesday, Business Coalition members also hosted a Capitol Reception for members of Congress and their staff which Congressman Joe Crowley (D- NY-7), Congresswoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL-18), and Senator Leahy (D-VT) cohosted along with Senators Schumer and Gillibrand of New York and Reps. Zoe Lofgren (D-CA-16), Jerrold Nadler (D-NY-28), Mike Honda (D-CA-15). Speakers included Scott Corley, the Executive Director of Compete America, and Reps. Crowley, Lofgren, Nadler, and Sheila Jackson Lee (D-TX-18).
This weeks productive meetings and Hill reception build upon the growing list of companies participating in the Business Coalition both Boehringer Ingelheim and the Dow Chemical Company joined in March as well as an endorsement this week from Compete America, the leading advocate for reform of U.S. immigration policy for highly skilled professionals.
To learn more about the Business Coalition for the Uniting American Families Act, visit the Coalitions site here: imeqactionfund.org/business.
Coalition of Leading Tech Companies Endorses UAFA
By Chris Fleming on 03/21/2012 @ 09:30 AM
We are pleased that Compete America has formally endorsed the Uniting American Families Act. Compete America is the leading advocate for reform of U.S. immigration policy for highly educated foreign professionals. Its members include Google, Microsoft, Intel, Cisco, and many other technology sector businesses.
In a press release issued on March 1, 2012, Compete America stated that discrimination against gay and lesbian Americans under U.S. immigration law “is unacceptable for employers and their employees and hurts America’s competitiveness.” The organization’s Executive Director Scott Corley continued, “We don’t want to see our employees separated from their families. We want these skilled workers to be able to live here, where they can help grow our businesses and expand our economy.”
Immigration Equality Action Fund’s Executive Director, Rachel B. Tiven, says this endorsement represents many Fortune 500 companies’ frustration at seeing their gay and lesbian employees treated differently — and suffering the consequences.
“Our nation’s most innovative companies are saddled with unnecessary challenges and costs due to this discrimination,” Tiven said. “Losing an innovative engineer or moving a key researcher abroad starves American companies of their talents and the revenue they could generate here .”
In addition to Compete America’s endorsement, more than 20 global companies have joined the Business Coalition for the Uniting American Families Act,. To learn more, visit the Business Coalition here.
Senator Leahy Stands Up for Frances & Takako
By Christopher Edwards on 03/20/2012 @ 05:17 PM
Today Senator Patrick Leahy of Vermont released a statement of support to the Congressional Record on the case of his constituents and our clients Frances Herbert and Takako Ueda, as well as constituent Michael Upton, who cannot live with his partner in the US, and Gordon Stewart, former Immigration Equality Board member, who lives with his partner abroad because they cannot live together in the United States.
Seantor Leahy has long been a supporter of our families and is lead sponsor of the Uniting American Families Act in the Senate. The Congressional Record is the official record of the proceedings and debates of the U.S. Congress.
His statement, which you can read online, reads in part:
This case underscores not only the harm that current Federal law causes to same sex couples, but the additional hardship placed upon same sex binational couples whose marriages are not recognized as the foundation of a spousal-based green card petition.
We wholeheartedly agree. The burden on our families is beyond unreasonable. Thank you Senator Leahy for defending our families and calling for action!
Chicagoans Organize To Support the Action Fund
By Morris Floyd on 03/20/2012 @ 01:18 PM
Immigration Equality is grateful for the efforts of our growing group of midwest activists who hosted our first community fundraising house party in Chicago. Below is co-host Morris Floyd's report from the field.
I was part of a group of friends who organized a fundraising house party to support the Immigration Equality Action Fund on March 17. Although it was started in response to the Valentine’s Day initiative, we used the St. Patrick’s Irish-inspired theme — also appropriate in an immigration context!
We were delighted by the response!
The initial goal has been to raise at least $2,160 — the cost of two “Green Card” applications — but more than $3,000 has actually come in so far, with more promised. Sandra Carter, owner of Taste Food & Wine on Chicago’s north side, worked with friends to host a performance of “Florence Nighinjail” at the shop on March 4. The total includes more than $700 in proceeds from ticket sales and contributions that was presented at the fundraiser.
Those attending included representatives of bi-national families with partners from Aruba, Brazil, Canada, England, France, Germany and Scotland, among others. They enjoyed St. Patrick’s Day themed food and beverage, great conversation and networking. Ten other donors made gifts online, even though they could not attend.
From to talking to many of the participants, it was clearly unnecessary to reiterate the challenges that same-sex bi-national couples experience — uncertainty, waiting, sometimes prohibitive legal expense, and anger about the injustice of immigration law. One man described his feelings of rage and powerlessness when his partner was turned back at the U.S. port of entry because he had entered the country so many other times previously, even though he was never “out of status.” Another reflected with pain on the likelihood that the family will have to move abroad when his partner finishes school. “Yes, we have those options, but why should we have to consider them when a heterosexual married couple does not?” Still others addressed the stress of long-distance relationships or the anxiety associated with undocumented partners who could be discovered and deported with little warning.
Along with many of the participants, co-host David Gunnell emphasized the hope that the event would be a first step toward a major Midwest presence for Immigration Equality, noting that the issues affect people all over the country and not just on the coasts. Aimee Cousino, an organizer of the “Florence Nightinjail” performance, commented on how few attendees understood the difficulties that same sex bi-national face and how happy they were to offer support when it was explained.
My friends and I were surprised and disappointed when we realized that the only “Valentine” events being held in the U.S. other than Chicago were on the coasts. Besides the opportunity to raise additional money in support of Immigration Equality and the Action Fund, a presence in other cities across the country helps amplify the message of hope and knowledge of the resources for same-sex bi-national families. Moreover, it’s a way to provide education that enhances the climate of public support for the Uniting American Families Act, which will be especially important during this election year.
Join the Safe Haven Awards Host Committee!
By Rachel Tiven on 02/27/2012 @ 04:28 PM
It is with great pleasure that I invite you to join the host committee for our annual Safe Haven Awards in Manhattan. For one incredible evening, the entire Immigration Equality family comes together – our pro bono community, business coalition partners, faith leaders, political champions, and loyal supporters like you.
2012 Safe Haven Awards
Thursday, May 17
6:30 – 10pm
AXA Equitable Center
787 7th Avenue between 51st and 52nd Streets
New York City
Host committee members ensure the success of the Safe Haven Awards in many critical ways such as:
- Sponsoring the Safe Haven Awards at the $589 level or higher
- Asking friends, family, and colleagues to join them in purchasing tickets
- Attending our annual invitation signing party the first week of April
Attended annually by over 400 people, the Safe Haven Awards celebrates our shared commitment to equality for LGBT and HIV-positive immigrants and their families. Look for an email in the coming weeks with information on ticket sales, guest speakers, and honorees. I hope you will join us.
P.S. Be sure to join the host committee by Monday, March 5 if you would like to be listed on the print invitations. We’ll add names to the website and emails on a rolling basis as new members join.
Andrew Sullivan on the Fight for LGBT Immigrant Families
By Steve Ralls on 02/27/2012 @ 01:26 PM
Author, blogger and activist Andrew Sullivan - who also serves as an Immigration Equality Action Fund board member - talks movingly about his support of full equality for LGBT immigrant families in a new video posted at The Daily Beast.
Sullivan, who recently appeared on our behalf at several London Immigration Equality events, shares his thoughts on that experience with Daily Beast readers. He also talks about rallying European support for fair immigration laws.
Andrew's video is below, and is also available at The Daily Beast website.
2 Things to be Passionate About
By Andrew Sullivan on 02/14/2012 @ 09:00 AM
Most people know many of the things I’m most passionate about: politics, blogging, civil equality, and spirited debate. But I have another passion you might not know about, too: Immigration Equality Action Fund.
I don’t offer endorsements very often, but I am incredibly proud to serve on Immigration Equality Action Fund’s board and to support their work on behalf of LGBT immigrants and their families. I joined the board because there are very few organizations who can point to a track record as impressive as this one:
• Ending the HIV travel and immigration ban. • Winning asylum for 500 (and counting) LGBT asylees fleeing persecution abroad. • Stopping the separation of families (like Bradford Wells and Anthony Makk) facing deportation because of discriminatory immigration laws.
Those are three monumental achievements in the LGBT rights movement, and they were all made possible by Immigration Equality Action Fund’s ground-breaking work. They’ve done the heavy lifting needed to change countless lives, including my own. I know, first-hand, the impact of their efforts. I too was in a bi-national marriage and had to struggle because of my HIV status to win the right to live with my husband, Aaron, in America. It was an arduous process and took eighteen years. But throughout it all, I found Immigration Equality to be peerless in their passion, unsurpassed in their expertise, deep in their care for those in desperate trouble. They don't just fight for changing the law; they work tirelessly to help real couples in real crises.
I don't know of any gay rights organization as dedicated to getting things done as Immigration Equality. Without them, HIV would still be a bar for non-Americans to even visit this country. Without them, we will never end the appalling tragedy of American citizens having to choose between the person they love and the country they live in.
I also know it doesn’t happen for free. So here's my request on behalf of all those who fall in love with someone from another country.
By becoming a monthly donor to Immigration Equality Action Fund, you can ensure the funds are there to win equality for every family facing separation, or forced into exile. I just can’t think of a better way to honor the day dedicated to love, passion and togetherness.
Please join Immigration Equality Action Fund with a monthly donation of $36, $50, $100 or more. Your gift will help us to plan for the future – and continue fighting – while knowing that the support will be there to keep us moving forward.
Ending discrimination. To keep love alive across borders and oceans. Two things to be passionate about this Valentine’s Day.
More Co-Sponsors for UAFA!
By Connie Utada on 02/06/2012 @ 12:47 PM
Congress has only been back in session for a few weeks and the Uniting American Families Act gained two new co-sponsors!
Senator Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH, pictured) and Representative Rob Andrews (D-NJ-1) have both signed onto support the bill. Currently, there are 24 Senators (including lead sponsor Patrick Leahy) and 131 Representatives (including lead sponsor Jerry Nadler) who have cosponsored UAFA.
Immigration Equality commends the new cosponsorship of Senator Shaheen and the returning cosponsorship of Rep. Andrews, and their public support for LGBT binational families in their district, state, and beyond.
We also thank everyone who contacted their Representatives and Senators to inform them of the constituent support for UAFA. If you have not done so, please contact your member of Congress today and ask him/her to cosponsor the Uniting American Families Act and if he/she is already a cosponsor, please thank them for their continued support.
Photo via shaheen.senate.gov
Find a Valentine's Fundraiser (Or Host One!) Near You
By Tara Sadooghi on 02/01/2012 @ 05:14 PM
As a day about love and commitment, Valentine’s Day can be a special opportunity to raise awareness about the thousands of loving couples separated by our country's unfair immigration laws. And this year, you can mark the occasion by joining a house party near you to support our work to include binational families in immigration reform!
- London Pub Night, featuring blogger, activist and author Andrew Sullivan
Wednesday, February 15th
- Los Angeles Bar Night
Saturday, February 18th
- Brooklyn House Party
Saturday, February 25th
- DC House Party
Saturday, February 25th
- San Francisco Bar Night
Saturday, February 25th
- Chicago House Party
Saturday, March 17th
Online Toolkit (or How You Can Host Your Very Own Valentine’s Fundraiser!)
It’s not too late! Immigration Equality would still take on more volunteers from around the globe to host their own Valentine’s house party fundraisers. Not only do we wish to raise awareness with our nearest and dearest about the injustices we face as binational families, we also need to raise the funds we will need to win full equality.
Each house party can include an optional call-in on the day of, from Executive Director Rachel Tiven. Included below is an online toolkit on how to get your party started and the best tips for a successful day of. Interested hosts should contact Tara Sadooghi, at firstname.lastname@example.org, for more details.
Elements of an Immigration Equality Toolkit
- Personal fundraising page with thermometer! See the complete ‘How To’ on how to set up your very own page, below!
- A checklist/timeline (download the PDF) to track all that you need for a successful event
- A unique Immigration Equality graphic (see below) to use on your Facebook, Twitter and various social media pages to advertise your event
How to Set Up a Community Fundraising Page
- Visit the Community Fundraising Dashboard. Clicking here will redirect you to the dashboard where you can set up your personal fundraising page.
- Register and create an account otherwise log-in if you already have a log-in. Please note: If you are creating an account for the first time, you will have to visit the Community Fundraising Dashboard again after you create your account.
- Once in your Dashboard, select “Create your page”.
- Select your goal. Our general advice is to set a goal of $1,080 which is the cost for one green card application fee. If you feel comfortable setting a higher goal, we encourage you to do so!
- Title your fundraiser.
- Write your appeal, we’ve given you a head start. Tell others why you want to end immigration discrimination against LGBT families.
- Choose an image (optional), one of your family or someone impacted by immigration discrimination or use our event logo below. (Right click to save the image and upload it.)
- Choose at least 5 donation levels from the 8 options provided.
- Then, click “Create” … and you are done with the set up! Now promote your page as a Valentine’s Day House Party event!
Ways to promote your Valentine’s Day House Party
- Share the link to your page on both Twitter and Facebook
- Invite your friends, Facebook events are a great way to do this. Use the image below (right click to download) in your Facebook event. Remember to link to your donation page in the Facebook event!
- Circulate an email to your friends, family, colleagues and networks that includes a brief description telling others why you want to end immigration discrimination against LGBT families. Remember to link to your donation page!
How to make your party the most successful on the day of:
- Join a conference call with Director of Development, Win Chesson, to learn the best tips on how to make a successful fundraising pitch on the day of your event.
- Have a computer set up and logged in to your personal fundraising page so that people can make donations straight to your campaign at the party.
- Have your television or computer set to screen IE videos from YouTube at the party, like the Day in the Life of Immigration Equality video at the end of this post.
- Relax and enjoy!
A First Class Commitment: Ogilvy & Mather Joins the Business Coalition for UAFA
By Chris Fleming on 02/01/2012 @ 10:38 AM
Immigration Equality Action Fund is proud to welcome Ogilvy & Mather – one of the world’s largest and most well-respected advertising, marketing and public relations firms – to the Business Coalition for the Uniting American Families Act. Ogilvy is now one of twenty global business leaders to join the Coalition, and endorse passage of UAFA, which would end the separation of LGBT immigrant families.
Business Coalition members are critical allies in our Congressional outreach campaign. By providing first-hand accounts of the attrition, relocation and other costs businesses pay because of discriminatory immigration laws, these business leaders add a powerful voice to our efforts on Capitol Hill. Ogilvy, and other Business Coalition members, are sending a clear message to lawmakers: Discrimination against LGBT families is bad business.
Ogilvy’s commitment to ensuring that all of its employees and customers are treated as first class citizens is in keeping with its corporate mission of “Only a first class business, and that in a first class way.”
For more information on the Business Coalition for UAFA, click here. To add your company to our growing list of business allies – and for information on how you can help recruit your company to join the Coalition, please contact me at email@example.com.
Image via Ogilvy.com
Make The State of OUR Unions Stronger: Tweet the White House This Thursday
By Steve Ralls on 01/24/2012 @ 03:11 PM
UPDATE: At Thursday's LGBT Twitter town hall, the White House weighed in on a question urging the President to stop the separation of binational families:
POTUS supports #DOMA repeal to help keep binational #LGBT couples 2gether @DHSgov enforcement discretion includes #LGBT #WHchat
This evening, President Obama will deliver his annual State of the Union address, outlining his priorities and goals for the country for the coming year.
As soon as the President concludes his remarks, pundits, politicos and everyone in-between will begin their analysis of what the President said . . . what he didn't say . . . and what he should have said.
This year, you get a say, too.
At 11am ET on Thursday, you can join a live session of the White House's LGBT Office Hour - via Twitter - with Miriam Vogel, White House Senior Policy Advisor, and Gautam Raghavan, White House Associate Director for Public Engagement.
You can ask questions, using the #WHchat hashtag - and follow the Q & A through the @WHLive Twitter account.
It's your chance to tell the President: Make the state of OUR unions stronger by ending green card denials for LGBT spouses and beginning the work to pass the Uniting American Families Act.
At 11am Thursday, join us in sending one of these tweets to the White House:
Will the President stop denying green cards filed by lesbian and gay couples?
Will the President endorse the Uniting American Families Act to stop the separation of LGBT families?
If we all tweet at 11am on Thursday, we can send a powerful, coordinated message to the White House: We can't wait. The time to stand up for our families is right now.
Image via WhiteHouse.gov