For Immediate Release

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Claire O’Brien, (202) 675-2312;

Bill to Provide Equality in Immigration Sponsorship Introduced in Congress

ACLU Calls on Congress to Pass Uniting American Families Act to Allow Sponsorship of Same-Sex Partners

WASHINGTON - Rep. Jerrold Nadler (D-NY) and Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-VT) today introduced the Uniting American Families Act, a bill that would allow lesbian or gay U.S. citizens to sponsor their same-sex permanent partners for lawful permanent resident status. The bill provides a vital protection for families who otherwise may face permanent separation because of one partner’s immigration status.

Under U.S. immigration laws, citizens and permanent residents can sponsor their spouses for lawful permanent resident status. However, because same-sex partners of U.S. citizens or permanent residents are not considered “spouses” for immigration benefits, gay and lesbian U.S. citizens and permanent residents are barred from sponsoring their same-sex permanent partners. The Uniting American Families Act helps to rectify this inequality, and the American Civil Liberties Union urges Congress to pass the bill.

The following can be attributed to Joanne Lin, ACLU Legislative Counsel:


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“Without the Uniting American Families Act, bi-national same-sex couples live under the constant threat of deportation and permanent family separation. American ideals of equality and liberty extend to all people. The time has come for Congress to fix the discriminatory immigration laws that preclude same-sex couples from keeping their relationships and families intact.”

The ACLU supported the Uniting American Families Act when it was introduced in both the House and Senate in the previous Congress. Letters to the previous House and Senate in support of the bill are available at:


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The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) conserves America's original civic values working in courts, legislatures and communities to defend and preserve the individual rights and liberties guaranteed to every person in the United States by the Constitution and the Bill of Rights.

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