Washington, DC —On the heels of President Obama's speech on immigration reform this afternoon in Las Vegas, GetEQUAL— a national civil rights organization fighting for full equality for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) Americans —is calling on the president to take immediate action to ease the pain of immigrants across the country right now.
President Obama included same-sex binational couples in his written framework, and mentioned in his speech a direct pathway to citizenship—both very important pieces of an LGBT-friendly vision for immigration reform. However, the president also included excruciating enforcement provisions that would cause more pain than gain to the over 11 million undocumented individuals already living in the United States.
The president also has the power right now to use his executive power to end the needless stream of deportations of undocumented individuals. On June 15, 2012, President Obama used his executive authority to create the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program for youth eligible for the DREAM Act. Over the past four years, the Obama administration has deported over 1.5 million undocumented immigrants—more than any other administration.
"We are thrilled that the president is using his moral and political leadership to push for inclusive, comprehensive immigration reform, and we're very glad that his vision for reform includes provisions for same-sex binational couples and a direct pathway to citizenship," said Felipe Sousa-Rodriguez, National Field Director for GetEQUAL. "As a beneficiary of DACA, I know firsthand how one's life is deeply changed by courageous leadership. However, we need President Obama to show real and tangible leadership on immigration issues, and to immediately call for a moratorium on deportations. Hundreds of thousands of LGBT immigrants like myself would benefit from that call in enormous ways while we want for Congress to act," continued Sousa-Rodriguez.
GetEQUAL is also asking for President Obama to use his executive power to issue guidance to USCIS in order to hold green card applications from LGBT binational couples in abeyance as immigration reform is being considered by Congress and as the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) —which bans marriage equality nationally—is being considered by the Supreme Court. This would protect same-sex binational couples from painful and unnecessary separation from their loved ones.
Founded in 2010, GetEQUAL is a national grassroots organization whose mission is to empower the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ) community and our allies to take bold action to demand full legal and social equality, and to hold accountable those who stand in the way. For more information, go to www.getequal.org. You can also follow GetEQUAL on Facebook at www.facebook.com/getequal or on Twitter at www.twitter.com/getequal.