This is very welcome news.
Special dispensation from AG Holder allowed Henry Velandia (right), a Venezuelan citizen legally married to Josh Vandiver, an American citizen, to avoid a deportation order last year
, at least temporarily.
Legislative changes will need to happen to permanently assure their family's unity.
The Congressional Hispanic Caucus has released nine foundational principles (pdf) that they believe are important to comprehensive immigration reform. Included is the directive to protect the "unity and sanctity" of families, including same-sex partners.
Immigration reform leaders in the Congressional Hispanic Caucus called Wednesday for a comprehensive reform bill to include recognition of same-sex relationships, which could give reprieve to as many as 40,000 couples who are separated -- or could be -- by current immigration law.
The caucus' principles for immigration reform include a call for a bill that "protects the unity and sanctity of the family, including the families of bi-national, same-sex couples, by reducing the family backlogs and keeping spouses, parents, and children together."
Heh. Can't say I've ever enjoyed the use of the word "sanctity" more.
“Our immigration laws ought to reflect both our interests and our values as Americans and we believe these principles are consistent with our nation’s commitment to fairness and equality,” the Hispanic Caucus said in its statement today.
Immgration reform will almost certainly be on the table in the coming session. There will be a complicated dance of enlisting various allies' support. Reformers are hoping and expecting some Christian Evangelical leaders to support the bill. There is a problem in that many of these leaders also consider inclusion of same-sex couple's right to petition for a non-citizen partner to be a "deal breaker" for their support.
This is an unfortunate and pointlessly cruel position to take.
This certainly has stirred anxiety in the LGBT community that their needs, desire and goals for immigration reform may be tossed under the bus in the name of political "pragmatism." This is a welcome reassurance.
Immigration Equality Executive Director Rachel Tiven says:
“The Congressional Hispanic Caucus’s commitment to lesbian and gay families sets the baseline for what comprehensive immigration reform must include. The LGBT community will bring our energy and our power at the ballot box to the fight for fair and inclusive reform. We salute Congressman Luis Gutierrez, Senator Robert Menendez and the entire Hispanic Caucus for their leadership in outlining an inclusive vision of what that reform will look like.”
The LGBT community largely mourned the death of the Dream Act, even as they enjoyed a victory in 2010. Immigration reform will offer an opportunity to correct that injustice, and they stand at the ready to fight.
Cheers to the Hispanic Congressional Caucus for standing up against efforts to divide and faction the progressive coalition as we move forward together, not backward.