ABA BACKS EQUALIZATION OF IMMIGRATION LAW FOR SAME SEX COUPLES
In Senate Testimony, Association Calls for Passage of S. 424, Uniting Families Act
Citing its support for fair and effective immigration laws that emphasize family reunification and American interests, and its stance against legal discrimination of all kinds, the American Bar Association is calling on the Senate to pass S. 424, the Uniting Families Act.
Earlier today, Christopher Nugent, co-chair of the Rights of Immigrants Committee of the American Bar Association’s Section of Individual Rights and Responsibilities, testified on behalf of the association before the Senate Judiciary Committee.
"Family unification is an express and central goal of immigration policy in the United States and has been for more than 50 years. Currently, however, this principle does not protect the families U.S. citizens and permanent residents form with same-sex partners who are foreign nationals. U.S. policy allows foreign spouses and fiancé(e)s to immigrate and live with theirU.S. partners,” Nugent noted. “But it does not allow U.S. citizens and permanent residents to sponsor their same-sex partners for residence in the United States. As a result, thousands of lesbian and gay bi-national couples and their children are kept apart, driven abroad or forced to live in fear of being separated.“
Additionally, the ABA testimony discussed how the policy directly contradicts that of many close U.S. allies. At least 19 countries recognize same-sex couples for immigration purposes, including the United Kingdom, Israel and Australia. Many jurisdictions have granted same-sex couples immigration rights even without establishing a comprehensive partnership policy or the right to marry.
The ABA also noted that the Uniting Families Act is carefully crafted to provide important protections against fraud and abuse.
A full copy of the testimony is posted at: www.abanet.org/poladv/letters/immigration/2009jun3_nugent_t.pdf
American Bar Association
Division for Media Relations and Communication Services
Contact: Stephanie Ortbals-Tibbs