Our friends at Immigration Equality issued the following statement regarding Representative Gutierrez’s recently introduced immigration bill:
Earlier today, Congressman Luis Gutierrez (D-IL) introduced an immigration reform proposal in the House of Representatives that does not include lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) families. We pushed hard for inclusion in this bill, and we are deeply disappointed. However, I want to be clear: this is not the comprehensive immigration reform package which will move through the House. And, there are many reasons to remain optimistic about our inclusion in comprehensive immigration reform down the road.
First, it is important to note that Congressman Gutierrez remains a co-sponsor of the Uniting American Families Act (UAFA) and the LGBT-inclusive Reuniting Families Act (RFA) in Congress. In the weeks and months leading up to the introduction of the Gutierrez bill, Immigration Equality pushed for inclusion of our families. When it became clear that this was not to be, we asked for the Congressman to continue to work for an end to immigration laws that discriminate against LGBT families, and we have every expectation that he will do so.
Second, this bill is not the large-scale, comprehensive immigration reform bill that is expected in Congress early next year. That bill is currently being written, and a number of our champions – including Congressman Jerrold Nadler, Congressman Mike Honda and Senator Patrick Leahy – continue to work to ensure that bill includes our families.
Third, some LGBT families will benefit from other provisions in this bill: for starters, those who have fallen out of status because they cannot be sponsored by their partners; LGBT detainees, who are too often victimized and discriminated against under our current system; those who need a path to citizenship in order to keep their family intact; and queer teenagers who have grown up and come out in this country but who have no future without a change in the law.
Immigration Equality will not rest until Congress passes LGBT-inclusive immigration reform. We continue to push – every day – for passage of the Uniting American Families Act, the Reuniting Families Act and every other possible victory for our families. Our strategy has been – and remains – to pursue every available avenue for success.
The bill introduced today is, for all of us, disappointing. But the immediate future remains hopeful. There are many more steps on our journey together – and in the Congressional process – and we remain confident that, in the end, our champions will stand with us, and immigration reform will include our families, too.