Out4Immigration is an all-volunteer grassroots organization. Currently, Americans in same-gender relationships with foreign partners have no right to sponsor those partners for legal residency in the US. In this campaign we write representatives in Congress and the Senate to ask them to support equal immigration rights for same-sex binational couples, to become a cosponsor of the Uniting American Families Act (UAFA), and to support Comprehensive Immigration Reform which is inclusive of LGBT families. Because we are at the start of a new Congress, we begin by asking for the bill’s reintroduction.
The UAFA has been introduced in each Congress since 2000 by its author, Rep. Jerrold Nadler; and since 2003 in the Senate by Senator Patrick Leahy. In this first letter of Out4Immigration’s letter writing campaign of 2011, and of the 112th Congress, we will run this petition for several weeks, asking for the reintroduction of the UAFA.
The repeal of Don’t Ask Don’t Tell in the lame duck Congress at the end of 2010 gives us hope. Of the 23 countries in the world that allow their citizens to sponsor same-gender foreign partners for legal residency, for many of them that step was heralded by allowing citizens to serve openly in the military. Despite the shift in power in the House, the repeal of DADT was truly bipartisan. This gives us hope that, regardless of party affiliation, the UAFA is a bill that has a real chance of becoming law.
It is common for people to respond in disbelief when we share that current policy denies us any possibility to be with our life partners, shy of visas related to study or employment. This must change, and can only change with the help of our families and wider community. Please, sign the petition, and promote it however you can so that others help send the message that supporting ALL families makes not only good political sense, but is the right thing to do.
We encourage you to further take part in this campaign by using one of four options:
(1) The easiest one. By clicking through and adding your name to this page, you will send letters to all of the lawmakers being targeted in this petition. You can also provide the link for this page to your friends and family to take action too (Please do!);
(2) Contact any or all of the elected representatives identified in each week’s campaign with your own letter, your own story; or
(3) Create a booklet telling your story. See http://tinyurl.com/o4i-toolkit1 for more info on this option.
(4) Check out other actions on our action page and sign the letters and petitions we’ve created for previous weeks to urge the other members of Congress to sponsor and support the passage of Uniting American Families Act, or visit Out4immigration's website, O4I's Facebook page or the O4I blog. If you use Twitter, you can also follow us at @out4immigration.
While we understand that the current makeup of Congress might not be very pro-LGBT or pro-immigrant, we look forward to your courage to continue to stand for what is right and equal by ensuring that LGBT Americans’ civil rights are not discriminated against. The reintroduction of UAFA, and its passage either as a stand-alone bill or through its inclusion in any comprehensive immigration reform bill, will represent an important step toward that outcome.
As long as American citizens face a legal landscape that requires they leave the country, hide, or deny themselves the chance to form bonds of lifelong intimacy purely because of whom they love, the core ideals and values of this nation such as liberty, justice, and equality cannot be attained. The current conditions deny and diminish our human experiences; the passage of UAFA would support and allow the truth of our immediate and extended families. Your leadership has gone a long way by not only keeping this issue alive, but advancing it, as seen with the record 161 cosponsors of this bill in the last Congress.
We stand behind you and thank you for supporting equal immigration rights for same-sex binational couples and for all of your hard work on behalf of the American people. We especially look forward to a swift reintroduction of UAFA in the 112th Congress so that we can quickly get back to our work of building support for this critical legislation.
The Members of Out4Immigration and their Supporters