Urge judiciary committees to take action on gay immigration bill (UAFA)

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On February 12, 2009 Representative Jerrold Nadler (D, New York, 8th) and Senator Patrick Leahy (D-VT) introduced the Uniting American Families Act (UAFA) which would eliminate discrimination in immigration laws and allow gay Americans to sponsor their foreign-born partners, providing a legal path to U.S. citizenship.

Representative Nadler…

nadler“In 2009, we should be ready as a society to acknowledge that stable American families come in all varieties. We in fact strengthen our communities – and our nation – by encouraging loving couples and families to stay together and live as cohesive units. Any committed couple deserves the potential to form a life and a family together – this is a basic human right – and whether that couple is gay or straight should be irrelevant. Gay and lesbian Americans in loving, committed relationships deserve the same rights as everyone else.”

Senator Leahy…

leahy“Like many people across the country, there are Vermonters whose partners are foreign nationals and who feel abandoned by our laws in this area: Vermonters like Gordon Stewart who has come to talk to me about the unfairness of our current laws, or a committed, loving couple of 24 years in Brattleboro, Vermont, who travel back and forth between Vermont and England, and who wish nothing more than to be able to be together in the United States. This bill would allow them, and other gay and lesbian Americans throughout our Nation who have felt that our immigration laws are discriminatory, to be a fuller part of our society. The promotion of family unity has long been part of Federal immigration policy, and we should honor that principle by providing all Americans the opportunity to be with their loved ones.

“The idea that immigration benefits should be extended to same-sex couples is not a novel one. Many nations have come to recognize that their respective immigration laws should respect family unity, regardless of a person’s sexual orientation. Indeed, 16 of our closest allies – Australia, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Iceland, Israel, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, South Africa, Sweden and the United Kingdom – recognize same-sex couples for immigration purposes.”

The UAFA has now been referred to the judiciary committees in both houses for review, which has been the case for each of the previous versions of the bill introduced since 2000. The difference this time however is that there are no longer Republican majorities in those committees so the bill may have legs to walk out of the judiciary and back into the houses for debate and eventually a vote.

Reaching out to members of the judiciary committees — particularly Democrats, and those on the immigration subcommittees (marked by an “x”) — could make a difference in helping move the legislation forward. If you or someone you know would benefit from the passage of the UAFA, please urge the representatives and senators listed below to take action.

United States House of Representatives, Committee on the Judiciary

John Jr. Conyers, Chairman, (D) Michigan, 14th   (202) 225-5126  
Tammy Baldwin, (D) Wisconsin, 2nd   (202) 225-2906  
Howard L. Berman, (D) California, 28th   (202) 225-4695 x
Rick Boucher, (D) Virginia, 9th   (202) 225-3861  
Steve Cohen, (D) Tennessee, 9th   (202) 225-3265  
Jim Cooper, (D) Tennessee, 5th   (202) 225-4311  
William D. Delahunt, (D) Massachusetts,10th   (202) 225-3111 x
Charles A. Gonzalez, (D) Texas, 20th   (202) 225-3236 x
Luis V. Gutierrez, , (D) Illinois, 4th   (202) 225-8203 x
Sheila Jackson-Lee, (D) Texas, 18th   (202) 225-3816 x
Henry C. Jr. Johnson, (D) Georgia, 4th   (202) 225-1605  
Zoe Lofgren, (D) California, 16th   (202) 225-3072 x*
Daniel B. Maffei, (D) New York, 25th   (202) 225-3701  
Jerrold Nadler, (D) New York, 8th   (202) 225-5635  
Pedro R. Pierluisi, (D) Puerto Rico   (202) 225-2615 x
Linda T. Sanchez, (D) California, 39th   (202) 225-6676 x
Adam B. Schiff, (D) California, 29th   (202) 225-4176  
Robert C. Scott, (D) Virginia, 3rd   (202) 225-8351  
Brad Sherman, (D) California, 27th   (202) 225-5911  
Debbie Wasserman Schultz, (D) Florida, 20th   (202) 225-7931  
Maxine Waters, (D) California, 35th   (202) 225-2201 x
Melvin L. Watt, (D) North Carolina, 12th   (202) 225-1510  
Anthony D. Weiner, (D) New York, 9th   (202) 225-6616  
Robert Wexler, (D) Florida, 19th   (202) 225-3001  

United States Senate, Committee on the Judiciary

Benjamin L. Cardin (D-MD) (202) 224-4524  
Richard Durbin (D-IL) (202) 224-2152 x
Russell D. Feingold (D-WI) (202) 224-5323  
Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) (202) 224-3841 x
Edward E. Kaufman (D-DE) (202) 224-5042  
Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) (202) 224-3244  
Herb Kohl (D-WI) (202) 224-5653  
Patrick Leahy (D-VT) (202) 224-4242 x
Charles E. Schumer (D-NY) (202) 224-6542 x*
Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI) (202) 224-2921 x
Ron Wyden (D-OR) (202) 224-5244 x

* – chairman of the immigration subcommittee

While the UAFA may be in the judiciary committees, it’s still important to contact your senator and representative and ask them to be co-sponsors. The more momentum the act can generate, the harder it will be to stop.

Post by ILO on 02/18/09 at 1:45 am