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Young activists demand U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio include LGBT people, couples in immigration reform

BY STEVE ROTHAUS, srothaus@MiamiHerald.com

Ten young South Florida protesters on Monday called on U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., to include gay and lesbian people in an immigration reform package set to be unveiled Tuesday.

"We want to make certain that [lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender] equality isn't left out of comprehensive immigration reform," said protest organizer Gabriel Garcia-Vera, 24, of GetEQUAL Miami, who describes himself as "a queer Puerto Rican and someone who identifies as a Latino voter."

GetEQUAL is a grassroots national LGBT organization dedicated to "full legal and social equality," according to its website.

Garcia-Vera was joined by other young activists representing Florida Immigration Coalition, Students Working for Equal Rights and Dream Defenders.

"There is always a group of people standing up against a system that is always somehow criminalizing us. Black and brown communities are coming together on the side of Dream Defenders and today we are also taking a stand for our LGBTQ community," said Kimberly Gonzalez, 27, president of Dream Defenders' Miami Dade College Kendall Campus chapter.

"LGBTQ rights are human rights and as individual groups fighting what may seem like different forms of oppression, we are here to stand together with the understanding that oppressors are the same," said Gonzalez, who does not identify as LGBT.

A bipartisan group of eight senators, including Rubio, plans to unveil a sweeping immigration bill on Tuesday to secure the border, remake legal immigration, boost workplace enforcement and put 11 million people here illegally on a path to citizenship, according to Associated Press.

In February, Rubio told the website BuzzFeed he hopes LGBT immigration doesn't become a "central issue" in immigration reform.

"I think if that issue becomes a central issue in the debate it's going to become harder to get it done because there will be strong feelings on both sides," Rubio said.

About 900,000 immigrants in the country identify themselves as gay, bisexual or transgender, including more than 48,000 members of same-sex couples in which one or both spouses or partners aren’t U.S. citizens, according to a recent study by the Williams Institute at the UCLA School of Law, a research center on sexual and gender identity issues.

Sergio Cesario, a Brazilian-American citizen in Miami, said his partner, Mauro, could be deported if immigration reform doesn't include LGBT people.

In 2005, Cesario became critically ill with inherited kidney disease and returned home to Brazil, where he met Mauro. They fell in love and Mauro came to the United States with him.

Mauro eventually donated a kidney to Cesario, saving his life.

"He gave me the gift of love and it's so difficult to separate ourselves," Cesario said. "It would be very difficult to live apart because of a law that is unjust."

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Oh, sure, Rube-io will do that. He's already about as popular as a POS in a swimming pool after that lame blitz on the MSM yesterday trying to sell his "it's not amnesty" amnesty yesterday.

How is who you do and how you do them relevant to this issue? You are either illegal or you are not. How are they excluded? This crap is getting out of hand.

Wow look at all those protesters! All 7 of them! I bet they all voted for Rubio too! I can see this article making national headlines if there were hundreds or thousands of protesters who showed up. I bet if hundreds of thousands of pro-lifers would've shown up at the Gosnell murder trial nobody would've covered it! Such hypocrisy.

What does LBGT have to do with immigration? Do they ask if you are gay before they let you in?

Rubio may as well warm up to his new constituency.
He's going to need support wherever he can find it.

Allow me to explain for those who still didn't get it: Under current immigration law, lesbian and gay Americans are unable to sponsor their foreign-born partners for residency in the United States. As a result, LGBT binational couples are forced apart, or into exile, by discriminatory immigration laws. UAFA – sponsored in the Senate by Senator Patrick Leahy (D-VT) and in the House by Congressman Jerrold Nadler (D-NY) – would eliminate that double standard, and apply immigration laws equally to LGBT Americans, and their partners. UAFA is currently co-sponsored by 161 lawmakers in both chambers of Congress. Further reading: http://yhoo.it/10hLodI

What does LGBT have to do with immigration? Heterosexual Americans are able to sponsor their foreign-born spouses allowing them to gain permanent resident status and live in the US. On the other hand, homosexual Americans are NOT able to sponsor their foreign-partner partners so their partners have to go back to their native countries, splitting them up. That stems from the fact that DOMA says that gay marriage is not recognized on the federal level. Once DOMA is gone, it clear the way to gay marriage sponsorship. This is not about amnesty to illegal aliens; it has to do with equal rights.

I had to check the date on this article... thought it was an April Fools joke.

I did not nor will I ever vote for Rubio. The only thing Rubio cares about his own career and his own claim to fame. Don't count in Rubio for anything to be done in our community. He is only concerned about what will get himself into the oval office. Please God, don't let that happen. If you are not white, straight, and Republican don't expect anything from Rubio. I am white, straight, and a democrat. My husband is black, Latin, straight and a democrat. We expect nothing from Rubio. You are better off contacting Bill Nelson, he is a good man and he works for all of us, not just for himself.

Florida Immigration Coalition is fighting for gays rights too. Thats wrong and is misleading the immigrant rights movement. Same sex benefits must stay out of immigration reform. Plus what this protestors don't seem to understand is that gay,lesbian and whaever you are DO NOT NEED TO MARRY AN OTHER PERSON OF THE SAME SEX to qualified for immigration reform.Cesario will qualified for CIR.He does not need anybody to sponser him. Sen Rubio will never support that. Keep protesting and wasting time. You should be protesting Obama fail to deliver immigraion reform and is his fall that Cesario is about to be deported. Call the White House and protest Obama not Rubio.

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