You all saw this front page diary on Wednesday by Joan McCarter, where Marco Rubio (R-Small-but-immigration-privileged identity group) announced that Patrick Leahy's (D-Vt.) plan to offer an amendment allowing LGBT Americans to sponsor their foreign national same-sex partners for green cards would be a poison pill, effectively killing immigration reform.
Ok, so Rubio never actually used the phrase "poison pill". But's it's a widely-used and understood phrase, with regard to the US legislative process.
And I am that poison pill. A part of a small-and-immigration-unprivileged identity group. A far, far smaller and less politically powerful group than the one Marco Rubio belongs to.
No one knows exactly how many of us there are, of course, because the census and the American Community Survey - those activities which provide too much information - don't provide information on us. Estimates vary, but the Politico article Joan linked to in her diary says "40,000 couples", which would make me one (1) of some 20,000 US nationals.
But I'm part of an even smaller subset of that group, the number of which no one has ever even attempted to give an estimate, because we are such a tiny group. Politico calls us the group who have left the country in order to stay with their partners who can no longer live here legally.
I personally know two others, both of whom currently live in The Netherlands. Of the three of us, two of us are "lucky", in that our partners/spouses are citizens of the European Union, giving us the right to permanently reside and work anywhere in the EU. The third has a more tenuous existence; his partner, though US-educated, is from a Middle Eastern country and their ability to stay in Europe is predicated on a "skilled worker" work permit. But even skilled and educated workers can lose their jobs in these times of severe austerity.
And to return to the point in the Politico story, I'm sorry but no, I haven't "left my country". Let's call it what it is: I've been forced into exile. Some may quibble at that phrasing, countering that I could have chosen to stay, and I can understand why - because they've never faced the heart-rending prospect of being forced to choose between life with their partner and the life they've already built. They're so privileged that it's not even a "what if" in their world view. There is a third choice, of course, but it's also not on the typical American's radar: I could have kept him in the US, legally hidden; unemployed or illegally employed; living a life of fake documents and constant fear of being found out and torn apart.
My relationship wasn't even a "we met online and carried out an online romance before I left the country to join him" experience, either, although I see that as equally valid to my own experience, where my husband and I were together for three years in the US before his visa expired and he had to leave. One of my acquaintances in The Netherlands entered her relationship via the online path, and she's just as in love and just as married to her German partner as I am to my Czech partner.
I guess it befits us, as "poison pills" to be a small, small subset of an already small group; you don't want too many poison pills around - heck, you don't need to many. Usually just one will do.
For now, I am that one.