The Progressive


A project of Common Dreams

For Immediate Release

Inga Sarda-Sorensen, Director of Communications
(Office) 646.358.1463

Task Force: Congress Must Pass Comprehensive Immigration Reform This Year

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).

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
  • an 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
  • expanded 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.

The National LGBTQ Task Force advances full freedom, justice and equality for LGBTQ people. We are building a future where everyone can be free to be their entire selves in every aspect of their lives. Today, despite all the progress we've made to end discrimination, millions of LGBTQ people face barriers in every aspect of their lives: in housing, employment, healthcare, retirement, and basic human rights. These barriers must go. That's why the Task Force is training and mobilizing millions of activists across our nation to deliver a world where you can be you. Join us!