The Uniting American Families Act (UAFA)
The Uniting American Families Act would allow a U.S. citizen or permanent resident to sponsor their same-sex partner for immigration to the U.S., a right which is currently denied.
Currently, American citizens who are gay or lesbian cannot sponsor their foreign born partners for immigration — no matter how long they have been together or how committed their relationship.
With no ability to sponsor their partners, Americans are being forced abroad, taking their tax base, their talent, and enterprise to a growing list of more than 25 countries that offer residency for lesbian and gay partners. America is losing valuable talent — and the driving force behind many small businesses — to foreign competitors. Of the top ten largest trading partners with the United States, six of them offer this opportunity, as do 59% of OECD countries, our main international competitors.
Countless families are affected by this issue. According to an analysis of the 2010 U.S. Census, over 36,000 couples are affected by this discrimination; and 46% of them are raising children. Many gay and lesbian Americans in binational relationships have aging parents and must make difficult decisions between managing their parents’ health or remaining with their partner.
The median age for Americans in these families is 38 years old. These are mature, committed relationships of couples who have established productive lives within the U.S.
These individuals and families are a valuable asset to the market and a resource that businesses want to retain. Many Fortune 500 companies have lost skilled Americans to foreign competitors.
Support the Uniting American Families Act, H.R.519 / S.296
The Remedy: the Uniting American Families Act
The Uniting American Families Act of 2013 (S.296 / H.R.519) addresses this problem by allowing Americans to sponsor their permanent partners for residency. It does not redefine marriage and it would not repeal the Defense of Marriage Act law. This small, and immediately achievable, fix to our immigration system will benefit both these American citizens and the companies which employ them. UAFA is sponsored in the Senate by Patrick Leahy (D-VT) and in the House of Representatives by Jerrold Nadler (D-NY).
To qualify, permanent partners would need to prove their emotional and financial commitment through rigorous documentation and an extensive interview process. These binational couples would also face high criminal penalties for fraud — imprisonment for up to five years and a $250,000 fine. Additionally, to ensure the foreign national does not become a public charge, the American partner would be required to sign an affidavit committing to supporting the foreign national partner for ten years, even if the partnership ends.
Read the full text of the Bill on THOMAS, the Library of Congress' legislative information site.
See how many co-sponsors the Bill has in the House and the Senate.