Wednesday, April 1, 2009

PFLAG Joins Calls to Halt Deportation of Lesbian Mom

PFLAG has joined our friends at Immigration Equality in calling on Congress to intervene and halt the deportation of Shirley Tan, a mother of twin sons who faces deportation, this Friday, back to the Philippines . . .where she has not lived for decades and was previously the victim of horrific violence.

Tan, who has been with her partner Jay Mercado for 20 years, would be allowed to stay in the United States if Mercado were her husband, rather than her same-sex partner. But under U.S. immigration law, Tan is now facing the real possibility of being separated from Mercado and their two sons . . . simply because Tan and Mercado happen to be gay.

In an interview with Advocate.com, Rachel Tiven, executive director of Immigration Equality, said that “We are hopeful their members of Congress will introduce a private bill that would spare their twin boys and the boys’ grandmother from having the country they love tear their family apart.”

Yesterday, PFLAG joined calls by Tiven's groups for Congress to immediately intervene and pass the bill.

In a letter, PFLAG executive director Jody M. Huckaby noted that, "There is little question that Ms. Tan and her partner, U.S. citizen Jaylynn 'Jay' Mercado, are deeply committed to one another and their family. Together for more than 20 years, Ms. Tan and Ms. Mercado have raised two children and built a loving, stable home in the United States for their family, including Ms. Mercado’s elderly mother. They should be commended – and not punished – for their hard work to keep their family intact."

"We understand that a private bill is Ms. Tan’s only hope for remaining with her family, including her twin sons," Huckaby continued. "Surely, the best interest of these children warrants a private bill to keep their family together. PFLAG believes there is nothing more pro-family than working hard to keep loving families united."

"There is simply no sound reason for the United States to pursue Ms. Tan’s deportation, and two undeniable reasons – their twin sons – about why our country should not," the letter concluded.

For more information on Shirley Tan's case, and other couples impacted by discriminatory U.S. immigration policy, visit Immigration Equality online.

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