A few days after the #LGBTCIR summit, The Fair Immigration Reform Movement (FIRM), an organization inside the RI4A Coalition, stepped up publicly to ask that all families be included in Comprehensive Immigration Reform, including gay, lesbians, bisexual, and transgender families. Specifically, FIRM, a project of the Center for Community Change, came out in favor of including Uniting American Families Act (UAFA) language, language that was specifically excluded from Congressman’s Gutierrez’s CIR ASAP proposal.
Including UAFA language isn’t the only way to ensure that all familias are included in immigration reform but its one way and FIRM’s endorsement of this language should serve as a model to other organizations within the RI4A umbrella, especially as eyes focus on Senator Schumer and his CIR proposal and the March 21st march in D.C.
I really hope that all the organizations and that are demanding immigration reform follow FIRM’s lead and make inclusion part of their official mission. Justicia can’t leave anyone behind.
Read FIRM’s entire statement after the jump.
FIRM Statement on Uniting American Families Act (UAFA)
We are moved by stories of bi-national couples who are fighting to keep their families together amidst a broken immigration system. Thousands of bi-national couples who identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender (LGBT) are at risk of separation. With no clear pathway towards legalization nor federal recognition of same-sex couples, these couples live constantly in a state of fear or exile.
We believe that keeping families together should be an integral part of comprehensive immigration reform. We believe that we strengthen our communities and our nation when we support the right of all families to stay together, including LGBT families.
This is why we support the Uniting American Families Act (UAFA). UAFA would add the term “permanent partner” to those sections of the Immigration and Naturalization Act that apply to legally married couples. Under UAFA, a “permanent partner” is an adult who is in a committed, intimate relationship with another adult in “which both parties intend a lifelong commitment.” This legislation would afford equal immigration benefits to permanent partnerships as exist for married heterosexuals.
While we believe that comprehensive immigration reform will benefit lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) immigrants, we recognize that the intersection of migration, sexuality and gender expression impact LGBT immigrants in disparate ways. Issues of detention, deportation and asylum are not only issues of dignity for LGBT immigrants, but often also issues of safety. We must remember these experiences in the struggle for immigration reform.
We need solidarity across movements in order to build the power necessary to achieve justice for all our communities. Such solidarity means that we recognize the multiple ways that people across lines of race, class, gender, sexuality, and ability experience immigration. We must work to build strategic relationships that lift up the most vulnerable among us in the struggle for just and humane immigration reform. This includes the lives and experiences of LGBT immigrants.
Marissa Graciosa, director of FIRM, says:
“There is power in our diversity, but we must honor that diversity. And it starts with keeping all families from all backgrounds together. This is why we support the Uniting American Families Act.”