In the context of the ongoing debate about immigration reform, some lawmakers highlighted a little-discussed aspect of the issue earlier this week, namely the rights of bi-national families.
A group of Congress members, which included the Hispanic Caucus, Asian Pacific American Caucus, Progressive Caucus and the LGBT Equality Caucus, joined advocates for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people on Capitol Hill to call for measures in the future bill that would end discrimination against the LGBT community.
Specifically, they pressed for inclusion of the Uniting American Families Act (UAFA) and the Reuniting Families Act (RFA) in the future package. The two acts allow United States citizens who are a member of the LGBT community to sponsor their foreign-born partners for permanent residency.
“Our out-dated immigration system contains laws that discriminate against LGBT families and hinder our economy, our diversity, and our status as a beacon of hope and liberty to people across the world,” said Congressman Jared Polis (D-Colo.).
According to Immigration Equality, a coalition of organizations that includes Anti-Defamation League, Human Rights Watch and People For the American Way, an estimated 17,000 American children are being raised by LGBT parents in bi-national families, and without proper immigration provisions they risk losing a parent or having to leave their home country.