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For straight, married couples, we have an immigration policy driven by the principle of "family unification." For same-sex couples? Try "family separation." Our immigration laws refuse to recognize same-sex partners as family, and, in failing to do so, force thousands of couples and families to choose between love and the law.
Senator Boxer is a co-sponsor of the "Permanent Partners Immigration Act," which would fix this discrimination in our immigration policy.
Senator Feinstein should be a leader, too, but hasn't yet signed on. Urge her to co-sponsor the bill and join the 10 other senators who have already signed on.
Send a letter to the following decision maker(s): Senator Dianne Feinstein (if you live in CA)
Below is the sample letter:
Subject: Please Co-Sponsor the Permanent Partners Immigration Act (S. 1510)
Dear [decision maker name automatically inserted here],
As your constituent, I urge you to correct inequality in U.S. immigration law by supporting and co-sponsoring S. 1510, the Permanent Partners Immigration Act. S. 1510, introduced by Senator Leahy, would add the term "permanent partner" to sections of immigration law that provide immigration rights to legally married couples, allowing gay or lesbian citizens to sponsor their partners to become U.S. residents.
Right now, the partners of heterosexual Americans can gain permanent resident status -- and eventually citizenship -- through marriage. However, immigration laws do not recognize same-sex couples. In fact, under no circumstances can a U.S. citizen use a same-sex relationship as a basis for sponsoring a partner from a foreign country, no matter how long the couple has been together nor how committed their relationship.
Under this legislation, same-sex dual passport couples would have to meet the same requirements as heterosexual couples to demonstrate that they are in an intimate, committed relationship. The requirements include providing proof of the relationship, supportive affidavits from friends and family and evidence of financial interdependence. Adding the category of "permanent partner" status to current U.S. immigration law would not require state and federal recognition of gay marriage.
I feel strongly that U.S. immigration policy should establish fair standards that apply equally to the permanent partners of all American citizens. In fact, I understand that the U.S. lags behind other democracies in establishing fair immigration policies. Fifteen other countries currently allow the gay and lesbian partners of their citizens to become permanent residents: Australia, Belgium, Canada, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Iceland, Israel, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, South Africa, Sweden and the United Kingdom. The United States should extend the same fair treatment to American citizens and their families.
It is clear that family unification is at the heart of U.S. immigration law. Approximately 75 percent of the one million immigrant visas issued each year go to family members of U.S. citizens and permanent residents. However, the current INS definitions of family exclude same-sex couples. This bill seeks to recognize the reality that that a gay or lesbian couple is a family.
Again, I urge you to help stop the inequality in U.S. immigration law by sponsoring this critical bill. I look forward to hearing your thoughts on this very important matter.
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