Today congressional news outlet The Hill published an op-ed by GLAAD acting president Dave Montez, in which he denounces Congress's political games that play with the lives of real people—11 million undocumented immigrants (including 267,000 of whom are LGBT) and their families. Those games include, as GLAAD and other LGBT groups denounced earlier this week, the introduction of amendments that make draconian demands for excessive enforcement provisions and border armament as a pre-requisite to speeding the citizenship process for undocumented immigrants already in the country.
In the op-ed, Montez writes, "Republican senators like Marco Rubio and John McCain created a false choice between benefitting all immigrants and benefiting gay and lesbian immigrants in bi-national couples along with them," and as a result the Uniting American Families Act (UAFA), which would have allowed gay and lesbian citizens to sponsor their partner for residency, did not make it into the immigration reform bill.
But while Congress is divided, the rest of the United States is not. Montez points out that most Americans--including 64% of Latinos--feel that gay and lesbian US citizens should be able to keep their families together – just like anyone else.
Montez emphatically states that this false choice was premised on the false idea that one cannot be LGBT and an undocumented immigrant. There are people who are both LGBT and undocumented immigrants, and they face many of the same hardships as other undocumented people--and sometimes worse experiences because of anti-LGBT discrimination—like being disproportionately targeted by law enforcement, subjected to workplace raids, and suffering if incarcerated and deported.
Highlighting the fact that the immigrant rights community has often stood with the LGBT community in the face of adversity, Montez closes with a plea for all us to work together to achieve reform despite the lack of leadership in Congress.
GLAAD is part of a coalition of LGBT groups in support of a fair and humane comprehensive immigration reform. Every day we fail to reform our system, 1,100 families are torn apart. As a nation, we pride ourselves on keeping families united, and our immigration policies should reflect our commitment to keep families together – all families.