The California Assembly held a hearing today on resolution ARJ 15 which urges Congress and the President to pass the Uniting American Families Act (UAFA), which would allow gays and lesbians to sponsor their foreign-born partners, providing a legal path to citizenship. The bill, authored Assembly Member Kevin de León (D-Los Angeles), in part says:
This resolution urges Congress to support the removal of legal barriers to immigration that affect permanent same-sex partners in binational relationships. Specifically, the resolution calls on Congress either to include the Reuniting Families Act, which incorporates the Uniting American Families Act, in comprehensive immigration reform, or to pass the Uniting American Families Act on its own as stand-alone legislation. In support of the measure, the author writes:
The federal Uniting American Families Act (UAFA) would amend the Immigration and Nationality Act to add same-sex “permanent partners” to the list of family members that a U.S. citizen or legal resident could sponsor for immigration.
Since current law does not allow gay and lesbian Americans and permanent residents to sponsor their foreign-born partners for legal residency, they cannot access the family immigration system for green cards and immigrant visas. Because of this inequity, thousands of lesbian and gay bi-national couples are kept apart, torn apart, or forced to stay together illegally, with one partner living in constant fear of deportation.
ARJ 15 is co-sponsored by Equality California (EQCA) and Asian Americans for Civil Rights and Equality (AACRE). Melanie Nathan, human rights attorney, Amos Lim, co-founder of Out4Immigration, Gina Caprio who is unable to sponsor her British partner, and representatives from EQCA and AACRE will be providing testimony.
The bill is opposed by Capital Resource Family Impact, which believes UAFA undermines the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA).