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Latino, Gay Groups Look For A More Comprehensive Immigration Reform

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Associated Press
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February 4, 2013

As a gay Mexican immigrant living in the United States illegally, Alex Aldana acutely understands his double-minority status. Not only does he fear deportation, he can't seek citizenship by marrying a partner because the federal government doesn't recognize same-sex marriages. He and other gay activists are hoping the new immigration debate at the top of Washington's agenda will change that, and they are betting on a newly forged but still fragile alliance between a pair of voting blocs considered critical to President Obama's re-election: Latinos and the gay community. The gay rights movement is working to make sure bi-national same-sex couples are included in immigration reform legislation making its way toward Congress, a tricky task for a constituency at the nexus of two hot-button social issues. So far, it has done so with strong backing from its liberal Latino partners. Groups such as the League of United Latin American Citizens, the National Council de la Raza and the Mexican American Legal Defense and Education Fund – all of which endorsed same-sex unions last year – reiterated this week that married gays should be part of a reform plan that provides a pathway to citizenship for the 11 million illegal immigrants in the U.S.