News release from the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force:
National LGBT rights group to join thousands at this Sunday’s national march on Washington, D.C., to demand Congress pass comprehensive immigration reform
The National Gay and Lesbian Task Force, a longtime advocate for comprehensive and humane immigration reform, is joining thousands of people from across the country for the March 21 mass mobilization on the nation’s capital to demand Congress pass comprehensive immigration reform this year. The Task Force is an official endorser of the March for America and will be marching behind its banner at the event. (For those wishing to march with the Task Force, meet at 12:30 p.m. at 12th Street, NW and Pennsylvania Avenue, NW. Just look for the Task Force banner).
WASHINGTON, March 17 —
During her annual State of the LGBT Movement speech just last month, National Gay and Lesbian Task Force Executive Director Rea Carey vowed the Task Force would continue to “stand with our allies in the immigration reform movement, come what may.”
“If we are truly a community and a movement committed to freedom, justice and equality then reforming our nation's cruel and broken immigration system must be on our agenda for action. Today, there are 12 million undocumented immigrants, including at least half a million lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people who are forced to live in the shadows of our society,” she said, later adding, “And, of course, there are at least 36,000 binational couples who cannot live together here in this country because federal law bans recognition of their relationships. So, yes, immigration reform is an LGBT issue.”
The National Gay and Lesbian Task Force Action Fund is advocating for the inclusion of the Uniting American Families Act (UAFA) in any comprehensive immigration reform. The measure would end discrimination against LGBT binational families and provide Americans in same-sex relationships the same opportunity to sponsor their partners for residency in the United States. It’s estimated that more than 36,000 such couples are facing separation, or currently living separately or abroad, due to existing discriminatory policies that UAFA’s passage would end.
Among the other changes the Task Force is calling for:
- a workable path to citizenship for undocumented immigrants
- relationship recognition for binational same-sex couples
- end to backlogs with more rapid visa processing
- improved enforcement of human trafficking laws
- political asylum for those fleeing persecution in their home countries
- labor protections for migrant and undocumented workers
- visas for professional workers
Immigration reform took a prominent place at the Task Force’s National Conference on LGBT Equality: Creating Change last month in Dallas, Texas. Thomas Saenz, president and general counsel of the Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund (MALDEF), gave the opening plenary speech in which he called for comprehensive and LGBT-inclusive immigration reform.
Saenz spoke powerfully about the need for collaboration and partnership with the LGBT community, and of the need to “reintroduce equal protection values into our definition of family — of any kind — under our immigration law. This means enacting the Uniting American Families Act as part of comprehensive immigration reform.” Watch Saenz’s full speech.