After years of seeing government inaction on immigration reform, many of us were heartened to see President Obama's recent decision to issue an executive order to protect undocumented young people who were brought to the United States as children. Known as DREAMers, these young people had been waging a valiant struggle to pass the DREAM Act, a bill in Congress that would have legalized the status on young undocumented people who were brought to the US as children, have strong ties to the community, and have lived here for years. While only temporary, this executive order is a great first step.
However another group of people similarly impacted by the current discriminatory and broken immigration system are LGBT US Citizens who are in binational relationships and are unable to sponsor their same-sex partners and spouses for legal residency in this country. Heterosexual US Citizens can get married and sponsor their spouse this way. However, because of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), LGBT US Citizens are prevented from doing this. Recently, President Obama has stated his support for same-sex marriage, and has already gone on record in stating that DOMA is unconstitutional. As a result, his administration has stopped defending DOMA in the courts. Yet, until the US Supreme Court rules that DOMA is unconstitutional, many of the provisions of DOMA remain enforceable and in place. One of the most urgent aspects of DOMA is the inability of Americans to sponsor a foreign partner or spouse for immigration and legal residency in the US. As a result, same-sex partners are being deported, are forced to live apart, or are otherwise discriminated against with adverse effects not only for the couple, but for everyone to whom they are closely connected.
Current bills in Congress, including the Uniting American Families Act and the Respect for Marriage Act, would change this grave injustice. Yet much like the DREAM Act, Congress refuses to act on these bills. The Obama administration could issue and executive order to change and end this discrimination. But he needs to hear from concerned citizens in order to act. That is why we are issuing this petition. We want to ask the Obama administration to act on the plight of same-sex binational couples and end our heartache. Specifically, we are calling for President Obama, Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano, and Attorney General Eric Holder to:
1) Immediately stop the deportations of same-sex foreign partners currently living in the United States
2) Hold in abeyance any green card applications from same-sex couples applying for immigration benefits until DOMA is settled by the US Supreme Court
3) Allow couples where the US Citizen has left the United States to be with his partner and are currently living in exile to return and bring their spouse/partner home
4) Allow couples who are separated because of this unfair law to apply for a fiance visa for their foreign partner so that they can come here and eventually get married."
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