The Uniting American Families Act: Soon to be Introduced!
Posted on 04/04/2011 @ 06:00 PM
The Uniting American Families Act is a bill that ends discrimination against LGBT families by allowing an American in a gay or lesbian relationship sponsor his or her partner for immigration.
It's estimated that 36,000 lesbian and gay Americans can't sponsor their foreign born partners for immigration, and around half of these families have young children. Can you imagine being in the position having to choose between your family and your country?
Last year, FCNL worked hard to help garner cosponsors and pass the law. But it doesn't only make sense to us. UAFA makes sense to many large companies in different industries such as Intel, Nike, Starwood Hotels, American Airlines and Cisco Systems. They, and many others, have signed on to a coalition letter that states, "We have lost productivity when those families are separated; we have borne the costs of transferring and retraining talented employees so they may live abroad with their loved ones; and we have missed opportunities to bring the best and the brightest to the United States when their sexual orientation means they cannot bring their family with them." Businesses and the American economy have an interest in retaining talent, but even the most talented would not want to leave their family behind in order to work in the U.S.
The bill is also important to the faith community. Close to 500 faith leaders in 35 states and DC have also signed on to the interfaith letter urging Congress to pass UAFA. Their congregations and faith communities see firsthand the consequences of families torn apart.
Moreover, it's an immigration law that has had widespread bipartisan support in Congress, more support than any other piece of immigration legislation. In the 111th Congress, there were 136 cosponsors in the House, and 26 in the Senate. In the new Congress, we're working to get those numbers up again.
Senator Patrick Leahy (VT) and Representative Jerry Nadler (NY) are planning on introducing UAFA before the spring recess. Is your representative a cosponsor? Call his or her office and find out. If not, tell him or her that "Every family deserves to stay together. No American should have to choose between the person they love and our country.”