If you check and affirm more than one of the following items listed below, then this Article applies to you:-
- Do you believe that all people should be treated equally
- Do you endorse “the right to pursue happiness” as per the US constitution
- When faced with the choice would you have a hard time chosing between your spouse and your Country
- Do you think the Obama administration can do more for the LGBT community
- Do you think Congress should pass ENDA
- Do you think Congress end DADT
- and ditch DOMA
- Do you have a heart
- Is it beating in your chest, still ? If you got this far…. read on….
There is so much going on – all the LGBT organizations are putting out uniform calls to action – ENDA-DADT- DOMA – this being the time now! Now! Now!
In this scrap for your attention, I hear this Hortonesque sound, a speckle of a voice; it is small and it is getting louder. It is as loud as you want to hear it and so we leave the world of Dr. Seuss and enter Julius Caesar with “friends, Americans, and Countrypersons…lend me your ears….” Okay this is not funny this is serious, but now that I have your ears in my sack of slack I scream and you hear, ” WHAT ABOUT US? BINATIONALS – UAFA!”
Binational is a term coined to denote LGBT spouses/partners who by virtue of US exclusionary laws are treated unequally; whereas straight US spouses have the right to petition under immigration law for fiancé visas and spousal immigration, the US Partner/spouse of a binational couple is not afforded this inherent right and cannot petition for a partner. Hence here is our call to action. Allies are sought NOW – urgently. Please speak out for those less fortunate. Those on the UAFA waiting list – because their congress members either know nothing of their plight or are sitting back in Co-sponsor complacency.
The ‘UAFA Waiting List’ is one no one wants to be on – it is one that keeps binational exiles abroad, others in hiding, and inter alia some fifty year olds pleading to stop time so that they are not sixty by the time they get to cohabit with their spouses/partners.
This year a synchronicity of events and increased sponsorship of UAFA gives us hope that maybe we can gain more support in this 111th Congress in a push for passage of the Uniting American Families Act. We are urging fast and prompt action – where all and anyone can help by contacting representatives and pushing for this legislation. While binationals are doing their own work, it would make a significant difference if support could be engendered from straight allies, clergy, organizations, state legislatures and of course the LGBT community at large.
Binational couples need your help. Unlike other unfortunate discriminatory practices against our community, here in the US and abroad, this is the one that either keeps partners apart or forces them to choose between heart and home.
I had the great pleasure this past month working with Out4 Immigration in developing their Grassroots Uniting American Families Act (UAFA) Campaign, manifesting in a comprehensive and invaluable Action Kit. The Kit introduces the campaign to Out4Immigration’s abundant membership throughout the USA and in Exile, abroad and now I am bringing it to you:
“Thank you for participating in our Out4Immigration Congressional Visits, a coast-to-coast effort where we will meet with our Members of Congress during the August Congressional Recess (August 3 – September 4) to keep pushing for the passage of the Uniting American Families Act (UAFA) and for its inclusion in Comprehensive Immigration Reform. This kit will give you the basic information you need before, during and after your meetings.”
The contents indicate the extent of the collaboration and work by the extraordinary volunteers of the unfunded Out4Immigration. The forty page Action Kit covers everything needed to guide participants through the process of advocating for the passage of immigration equality and reform; guidelines for meeting with members of Congress, Talking Points, Do’s and Do Not’s, Exit Question Checklist, Sample Letter to Request Meeting, List of Senate Co-sponsors, List of House Co-sponsors, Tri-Fold Brochure, Testimony and Statements from Senate Judiciary Committee Hearing, Fact Sheet on LGBT Immigration and UAFA– Stories /Related Media Coverage/Articles.
The Group has taken the further step of devising and setting up an all volunteer tracking system as the members report back about their congressional activities. Not only does this lend credence to a well coordinated effort, but also assists in a comprehensive and organized check list for future coverage and follow-up.
There are a few dedicated volunteers who have worked vigorously in their contributions to out4I and the cause, to make this month a productive one for the advancement of UAFA. They know who they are, and you, the rest, who can further this mission to one of success also know who you are. So I am writing this piece to urge you all, LGBTQI, Straight, bi-national or not, to read the Action Kit and find what you can do to help in what has been a long and arduous struggle for immigration equality.
In the hope that you will come forward and ask your representatives to support UAFA I urge you to read the KIT and be inspired by remarks such as that of Julian Bond of the NAACP in his testimony at the UAFA hearing on June 3rd, stated:
“Given all the benefits, socially, economically, and morally, of ensuring that effective family reunification is an integral part of our nation’s immigration policy there can be no question that the NAACP supports an overhaul of current law to ensure that the family preferences policies are functioning well and without discrimination. As I said earlier, the NAACP would also like to stress that the definition of “family” should not be interpreted so stringently as to omit people who are in a loving, committed relationship but happen to be of the same gender.”
This type of positive support is worthless if it sits in isolation. I t is now our duty to utilize such statements to the advantage of UAFA – by bringing this to the attention of every single member of Congress. Do not be put-off by Republicans or conservative viewpoints. This is an opportunity to walk into the consciousness of all of America – It is up to us…Good-luck and lets go for it! Oh and by the way – when you go and speak to your Rep about ENDA, DADT AND DOMA, DONT forget UAFA! Thanks.
Now that Senator Feinstein has signed on to ENDA she and the other co-sponsors must be urged to immediately sign on to UAFA.
If you have any questions please contact Melanie Nathan or OUT4Immigration through their websites.
The ACTION KIT can be located at www.divorcemediators.us – fill out form or go directly to PDF.
For more information and a read into the unconscionable hardship suffered by your fellow American citizens/ residents in their inability to Petition for their partners to immigrate to the USA, here are some references: