Roll Call: Latest News on Capitol Hill, Congress, Politics and Elections
November 23, 2014

LGBT Groups Demand Equality in Immigration Bill

As the immigration overhaul process accelerates in Congress, expect specific constituencies with a stake in the outcome to begin signaling their demands for support — as well as grounds for joining the opposition.

The latest to speak out was a collection of leading advocacy organizations for individuals who identify as gay, lesbian, transgender or bisexual. In a joint statement released Wednesday afternoon, these groups reiterated support for comprehensive changes to federal immigration law, but they made clear they could oppose legislation that they feel discriminates on the basis of sexual orientation. The following was issued by the National Center for Lesbian Rights, GLAAD, National Gay and Lesbian Task Force, United We Dream and Queer Undocumented Immigrant Project:

“Our primary goal is to pass a commonsense, compassionate immigration reform bill that puts our nation’s undocumented men, women and children on a pathway to citizenship. That pathway would provide at least 267,000 LGBT undocumented people the opportunity to become full participants in our economy and our democracy. We do not believe that our friends in the evangelical faith community or conservative Republicans would allow the entire immigration reform bill to fail simply because it affords 28,500 same-sex couples equal immigration rights. This take-it-or-leave-it stance with regard to same-sex binational couples is not helpful when we all share the same goal of passing comprehensive immigration reform that provides a path to citizenship.”

As others have reported, LGBT advocates want homosexual couples treated the same as heterosexual couples in any immigration overhaul that addresses families and a spouse’s ability to sponsor the legal immigration and residency of a spouse who is not a U.S. citizen. But among evangelicals and social conservatives, many of whom are quite supportive of immigration changes, such a provision could deter support. In fact, during a Tuesday radio interview with talk show host Hugh Hewitt, Sen. Marco Rubio said flatly that extending spousal immigration priorities to same-sex couples would cost his support and act as a poison pill that would cost an immigration rewrite the Republican support it needs to clear Congress.

“This immigration bill is difficult enough as it is. There are already enough questions being asked, questions that need to be answered, legitimate points that are being raised. If you inject something like this in the bill, it will die,” said the Florida Republican, a tea party stalwart who is considered the linchpin to the deal.

Currently, there is scant evidence that this issue will rise to the level of threatening the prospects for an overhaul this year. For Republicans in particular, accepting a bill that grants illegal immigrants with a pathway to citizenship remains the most politically sensitive issue to deal with. But as more and more Democrats have publicly announced their support for same-sex marriage, the possibility of this issue rising to the fore can’t be dismissed out of hand.

Here’s what else the coalition of LGBT groups had to say Wednesday afternoon:

“We all deserve a chance to live with dignity, to pursue our dreams, and to work for a better future and better quality of life.

Our current immigration system is broken. It dehumanizes, scapegoats and vilifies all immigrants, including LGBT immigrants, and their friends and families. Comprehensive, compassionate immigration reform is an urgent priority for our nation and the LGBT community.

We stand firmly that the following principles must be included if we are to truly have comprehensive immigration reform legislation:

  • Provide a pathway to citizenship.

  • Ensure that family unity remains at the heart of immigration law and policy.

  • End unjust detentions and deportations.

  • Uphold labor and employment standards and ensure that the enforcement of immigration law does not undermine labor and employment rights.

  • Promote a dignified quality of life for border communities by establishing oversight mechanisms to ensure border agencies uphold basic civil and human rights protections.

  • Ensure immigrant members of our community are not relegated to permanent second-class status.”

  • overbusy

    Why Is it that only when tou want to break up a family it happen’s only in the U.S ! DEPOTRT THEM AS FAMILY they pro amnesty alway’s Your Breaking up the Family ONLY in AMERICA JUST AMERICA. . Marco Rubio and the gang of 8 Say’s the Illegal’s Won’t Get Federal Benifit’s for 10 year’s But the gang of 8 Won’t say any-thing about local and state welfare. So that mean’s my poperty tax’s will sky-rocket and my water bill will sky rocket and the state tax will sky Rocket! any-thing that is not federal. the voter’s will not go for that Marco Rubio and The Gang only say no FEDERAL BENIFIT’s for 10 year’s leaving the local town’s and cities and states Holding the Bag. But Not the Federal Govt. We the People will Rember you the gang of 8 in 2014 and what party you represent You (Marco Rubio) SAID FEDERAL BENEFIT’S AND PURPOSLY LEFT OUT LOCAL AND STATE BENIFIT’S that the Illegal’s can and would get right away! it’s only federal that they would have to wait 10 year’s but not local or state

    • Ubi Panis

      You can’t deport American citizens in the family. Mixed status families are being told by two different governments they can’t be together.

      States can pass their own laws restricting whatever, that’s not the federal governments job.

      Any other half baked thinly-veiled-racist criticism you got?

      • eaglechick

        For all who want amnesty..adopt a family. Let them live with you, be responsible for their behavior and financial well being, and oh yea, give up the Mexican citizenship, after that we’ll talk.

      • overbusy

        OK THEN BREAK UP THE FAMILY ! and put the American up for adoption or make him or her a ward of the state But get the illegall out of or Arrest Them THEY BROKE THE LAW ! here They are here Not for My job but for my tax dollar’s welfare.food-stamp’s.section 8 (ANCHOR BABY) Discourage Illegal Immigration Either Deport them as a Family or Deport after all it’s afree country and he can visit when he or she is 18 Where Does the law say that I Have to care for the Illegal Parent’s because ofThe Bleeding heart’s Liberal’s Say Oh ONLY in America AMERICA only you can’t break up families! Make the child a ward of the state and deport the illegal or DEPORT THEM ALL AS A FAMILY or when they 18 they can come back to America !

        • Ubi Panis

          May be you should go back to school and get your GED, clearly you could learn a thing or two about punctuation. Perhaps that will help you get a job better than raging on the internet against hardworking immigrant laborers.

          • overbusy

            AND MAKE YOUR POINT! OR DO YOU CHOSE TO DOWN GRADE DISABLED AMERICA VET’S ! AND MY PUNCUTUATION! GEE COULD IT BE JUST COULD IT BE JUST A SLIM CHANCE THAT IT MIGHT BE THAT MY KEY BOARD IS BROKEN! A DO YOU MEAN THE ONE’S THAT AMERICAN’S WON’T DO THE ONE’S THAT DON’T ASK FOR A SOCIAL SECURITY NUMBER SO THEY CAN COLLECT WELFARE TO. AND THEY HAVE A ANCHOR BABY AND WHEN THAT BABY IS BORN THEY GIVE THAT SAME BIRTH CERTIFICATE TO THEIRE BROTHER OR A LONG LOST COUSIN WITH THE SAME LAST NAME SO THEY CAN GET MORE WELFARE. As A AMERICAN AND I KNOW MANY IF WE COULD WORK THE FIELD’S AND NOT PAY TAX’S AND COLLECT WELFARE AND FOOD-STAMP’S THEY WOULD DO THOSE JOB’S GIVE ANY AMERICAN WOLD THEM! JUST LIKE RUBIO AD THE GANG OF 8 HE SAID NO IlleageL COULD get FEDERAL BENNIFIT’S for 10 year’s but while they are waiting for FEDERAL handout’s The Illegal’s will get local and state Tax-payer WELFARE but not FEDERAL only local and state! How Many Illegal’s Have you got living with You ? Hard working Ha,Ha,Ha,Ha, They are scaming the sytem and taxpayer’s Because they don’t want to do the Hard work!

          • American

            Any American that wants to work in the fields can do so. In fact I’m sure the farmers would be overjoyed to have a hard working American doing so.

        • American

          I guess you prefer to have your tax dollars paying for orphanages and foster parents. Much more money then just a few groceries. Remember not all illegals live in low income housing nor do they all even recieve any of the Government doles that citizens or permanent residents can get. Plus the more children an orpahnage has to raise or the more children that foster parents are given the more cost for the Government. We have always been a Country that has placed a very high regard to maintaining a family together. You have no legal grounds to deport a citizen. You have only mentioned those that are children but their are voting adults that have fiances or spouses that are undocumented. They won’t be silenced nor will they want their family to be split up for 10yrs before they can reunite. How does that benefit America?

  • http://twitter.com/DrSquishy DrSquishy

    It is not going to happen.

    • ojfl

      It cannot happen while the federal government does not recognize gay marriage or civil unions DrSquishy. It may be that they want this to force the recognition later.

  • PJM

    We should be provided equality for gay and lesbian AMERICANS before we give anything to illegal immigrants. I am in favor of granting LPR status (but not citizenship) to illegal immigrants who pay at least a $10,000 fine and have never engaged in identity theft. But gay Americans take priority over these illegals. We are American citizens. We have broken no laws. And we are asked to wait while lawbreakers demand their “right” to U.S. citizenship? Please.

    • ojfl

      That seems a much more sensible approach PJM, to have legal status with not path to citizenship and a steep fine.

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