Earlier this week, Democratic Rep. Jackie Speier (CA-12) , a co-sponsor of the Uniting American Families Act (UAFA) which would allow gays and lesbians to sponsor their foreign-born partners for citizenship, expressed her concerns about passing the bill as a part of larger immigration reform.
“By making the bill comprehensive it does muddy the waters,” said the freshman House member, who predicted “nothing will happen this year on immigration.”
Speier voiced her concerns about the strategy at a town hall meeting she held August 31 for the LGBT community in San Francisco. The northern most sections of Speier’s 12th Congressional District reach into portions of the city, including such LGBT-heavy neighborhoods as Glen Park, Diamond Heights, and Twin Peaks.
Since winning a special election to her seat last year, Speier has quickly moved to back several legislative efforts to win LGBT rights. The issue of immigration has been especially fraught for the Peninsula lawmaker, as several of her constituents who are binational same-sex couples have reached out to her for help with immigration issues.
Speier’s view seems to have changed since a town hall earlier this year, where she indicated “the only way that bill is going to get passed is if its part of a larger immigration reform measure.” In addition to the standalone act, UAFA compatible language also exists in the omnibus immigration reform bill called Reuniting Families Act, sponsored by Congressman Mike Honda (CA-15).
In her short 16 months in Congress, Speier has proven herself to be a strong ally and advocate for the LGBT community, and was instrumental in staying the deportation of a lesbian mother this past spring.