On July 13th 2011 in San Francisco, Alex Benshimol and Doug Gentry, a married California couple, will face every same-sex binational couple’s worst nightmare: a deportation hearing. As anyone following this issue knows, for years there has been little hope for same-sex binational couples seeking to reside together in the US. Many are legally married like Alex and Doug, but are still treated as legal strangers in the eyes of our own government.
For many years, and certainly since DOMA became law, our families have been discriminated against. At best, our foreign partners and spouses have managed to stay in the US with temporary visas related to work or study, but are deprived of access to a “green card” on the basis of their relationship. These couples cannot build a future together and live with tremendous insecurity. Far more often we are forced to live apart in different countries; exiled to one of the more than 20 countries in the world that respect our families; or forced to live in the United States in the shadows with constant uncertainty; fear of deportation and ruin hanging over our heads. This destroys marriages, and tears apart our families. It is a humanitarian crisis that must come to an end.
Alex came into the U.S. 12 years ago from Venezuela and overstayed a tourist visa, an immigration violation that straight binational couples can easily remedy once married; as a gay married couple, Alex and Doug do not have that option. We believe the political will of our elected leaders must be directed at this issue so that DOMA is repealed quickly. All American citizens deserve the right to pursue life and happiness with the liberty and equality guaranteed us all by our Constitution. We need our elected officials to show leadership and resolve on this issue. The Obama administration has the power to protect couples like Alex and Doug so they are not torn apart by deportation. Join us in declaring that the cruel discrimination that has been inflicted on us by unjust laws MUST finally come to an end.
Please join Out4Immigration, Stop the Deportations, GetEQUAL, Marriage Equality USA, and your fellow citizens in urging President Obama and Homeland Security Secretary Napolitano to take action to recognize Doug and Alex’s marriage and prevent another family from being torn apart!
Still, our families continue to suffer under DOMA. While you’ve declared your position on this, Mr. President, the deportations of our spouses continue unabated. Countless LGBT Americans and their families have been forced into exile to countries with more humane policies with regards to same-sex immigration rights. Many more suffer uncertainty, are torn apart, or hide in the shadows in great fear. It is shameful that the US is so slow to act when so many nations around the world have allowed same-sex immigration in policy and in law.
On July 13th 2011, Doug Gentry and Alex Benshimol will face the worst nightmare of any same-sex binational couples living in the US: a deportation hearing. The charge against Alex is an overstayed tourist visa. Married heterosexual couples can remedy an overstayed tourist visa when they marry; despite being married, no such option exists for Doug and Alex. We need you to take a stand to not only acknowledge that this wrong exists, but also to address this inequality by ending these deportations now. Your office can and must prevent more LGBT American families from being destroyed by this unjust and unconstitutional law, and institute an immediate moratorium on these deportations.
We have many challenges facing us as a nation, and the constituency affected by this issue is admittedly a small portion of our population. Nonetheless, we cannot as citizens put our passions to greater service, when we are fighting for our very lives.
The US Government must stop tearing apart our families. We insist that your administration begin taking our families seriously and act now to save loving couples like Doug and Alex from being torn apart. As long as any citizen can be treated this way, none of us are free, and our national character is blemished by this gratuitously cruel policy.