Congressman Gutierrez introduces immigration reform proposal in the House of Representatives

from Executive Director Jennifer Chrisler:

Congressman Luis Gutierrez (D-IL) introduced an immigration reform
proposal in the House of Representatives that does not include
lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) families. We are
deeply disappointed that LGBT families have been excluded from this
otherwise progressive bill. Immigration reform is not comprehensive
if it does not include LGBT families.

There are over 36,000
same-sex binational families in the U.S., nearly half of which are
raising children. Although U.S. citizens and permanent residents
are allowed to sponsor a spouse for immigration purposes so they
may live together in the U.S., this option for unification is
currently denied to same-sex partners, regardless of how long the
couple has been together. No family should have to live with the
fear of forced separation or having to choose between the family
they’ve built and the country they love. No child should have to
live in fear that one of their parents will be forced to leave the

Over the past
several months we’ve communicated with you about our efforts
alongside Immigration Equality to secure the inclusion of LGBT
families in comprehensive immigration reform. Although we are
disappointed today, we remain optimistic that LGBT families will be
included in any reform package ultimately passed by Congress, for
several reasons. Congressman Gutierrez remains a co-sponsor of the
Uniting American Families Act (UAFA) and the LGBT-inclusive
Reuniting Families Act (RFA). When it became clear that our
families would not be included in the Guitierrez bill, we asked for
the Congressman to continue to work for an end to immigration laws
that discriminate against LGBT families, and we have every
expectation that he will do so.

Congressman Gutierrez’s proposal is not the large-scale,
comprehensive immigration reform bill that is expected in Congress
early next year. That bill is currently being written, and a number
of our champions – including Congressman Jerrold Nadler,
Congressman Mike Honda and Senator Patrick Leahy – continue to
work to ensure that bill includes LGBT families.

While not fully
inclusive, some LGBT families will benefit from provisions in the
Gutierrez bill: for starters, those who have fallen out of status
because they cannot be sponsored by their partners; LGBT detainees,
who are too often victimized and discriminated against under our
current system; those who need a path to citizenship in order to
keep their family intact; and queer teenagers who have grown up and
come out in this country but who have no future without a change in
the law.

While we
are disappointed today, Family Equality Council will continue to
push hard for passage of truly comprehensive immigration reform
legislation that includes LGBT families.”