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Thread: May 1 - Equality Not Yet

  1. #1

    May 1 - Equality Not Yet

    Comment: Equality Not Yet


    Politico reports that "The most serious threat to bipartisan immigration reform doesn't involve border security or guest workers or even the path to citizenship. It's about gay rights." Immigration Daily is on record several times in favor of equality in immigration without discrimination based on sexual orientation. However, if the Uniting American Families Act is offered as an amendment to S. 744 during markup at the Senate judiciary committee, we oppose it for the following reasons: (1) it is futile; (2) the effects of excluding equality will be temporary and (3) it is a poison pill to kill CIR. We explain each of these briefly below:


    1. It is futile


    2. There clearly are enough votes on the Senate Judiciary Committee in favor of equality. Equally clearly, equality in immigration does not command a majority on the House floor. Hence, even if the bill reported by the Senate Judiciary committee included equality provisions, these would inevitably get struck from the statute when the House has its say. There is no reason therefore to embitter and jeopardize the debate on the Senate floor on this issue.

    3. The effects of excluding equality will be temporary


    4. The country is clearly changing on equality, and it is only a matter of a short time before views on the House floor are brought into alignment with the public's. CIR is not the last immigration bill, it is merely the first of the post-9/11 era, there will be many opportunities in the future to act on equality, and Immigration Daily will strongly support UAFA after CIR is law. Unlike the undocumented, who don't have any hope whatsoever without CIR, the LGBTQQI community have, and will continue to have, many champions and many more chances after CIR is behind us. Difficult choices have to be made when ensuring we have a statute. That's why 3 communities have been thrown under the CIR bus: (a) the FB4 category, which is being permanently destroyed; (b) the DV lottery which is also being permanently destroyed and (c) the Indian IT companies and an entire community of H1B intermediaries whose business models are being obliterated out of existence. In contrast to these 3 communities, the LGBTQQI community is NOT being thrown under any bus - this is just a temporary delay for the inevitable immigration benefits that lie a short distance ahead in the future, but only AFTER CIR.

    5. It is a poison pill to kill CIR


    6. The deepest reason to oppose UAFA in the Senate Judiciary committee is because it raises suspicion that the so-called pro-immigrant advocates don't have a plan beyond the Senate. The post-Civil War United States of America has always been a bipartisan country - in votes in elections and in Congress, too. Bi-partisan gridlock is a feature of the American system, not a bug. Reflecting this long tradition today, the Senate is solidly in the hands of Democrats, and the House equally solidly in the hands of Republicans. If advocates don't have the keys to unlock this gridlock, they have no business holding themselves out as knowledgeable in the ways of American politics. Without a credible plan - both inside the beltway and through massive activism outside the beltway to get CIR plus equality through the current Congress, immigration advocates have no business making political statements on equality at the cost of the tremendous, daily, unremitting, inhumane indignities visited upon the undocumented for over a decade. Perhaps Chairman Leahy is well aware of the politics, and is deliberately raising UAFA as a sacrificial lamb to be bargained away, and perhaps immigration advocates have a plan to stab the stiletto into the LGBTQQI community's back at the right moment. If so, we commend them for possessing the smarts necessary to ensure that CIR becomes an Act of Congress at long, long last.


    We urge equality advocates to remember that Immigration Daily counts itself among their number, but we equally urge them to realize that this is not the time to raise their meritorious claims. Share your thoughts by writing to editor@ilw.com.








    Article: Why every day that passes without a solution is not good for Comprehensive Immigration Reform? We have a solution! by Rehan Alimohammad

    Blogging: Infiltration Leads to DHS Opening Civil Rights Investigations into ICE by Matthew Kolken

    Bloggings: Would the Last Eritrean to Flee the Country Please Turn Out the Lights by Jason Dzubow

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    An Important disclaimer! The information provided on this page is not legal advice. Transmission of this information is not intended to create, and receipt by you does not constitute, an attorney-client relationship. Readers must not act upon any information without first seeking advice from a qualified attorney. Copyright 1995-2013 American Immigration LLC, ILW.COM. Send correspondence and articles to editor@ilw.com. Letters and articles may be edited and may be published and otherwise used in any medium. The views expressed in letters and articles do not necessarily represent the views of ILW.COM.








    Publisher: Sam Udani ISSN: 1930-062X

    Advisory Board: Jason Dzubow, Rami Fakhoury, Matthew Kolken,
    Chris Musillo, Lory Rosenberg, Greg Siskind, Joel Stewart, Margaret Wong

  2. #2
    How bigoted and narrow minded. Not a forward thinking American at all. What you are saying is so ridiculously excluding it is beyond an intelligent dialog. So to that, all I can respond is with: "phuck you" who are you to judge which immigrants are worthy or not. I am not gay. I am also no blinded by archaic cultures or religion. There is no solid and just reason to exclude our LGBT sisterhood/brethren. You just called me into action. I was on the side lines waiting, but now I will advocate for LGBT inclusion. Thank you for waking me up and remembering not to trust the ignorant with our future. I will post this on all my listserves. There are more of us who stand with our LGBT community than those with myopic ($$) visions, like you that divide us. Immigration reform is a human right not a financial opportunity for you.

  3. #3
    Dear ILW Editor:


    I am deeply troubled by your recent editorials about the LGBTQ community's requests to be included in comprehensive immigration reform legislation. Your editorial is inflammatory and homophobic since it suggests that LGBTQ advocacy efforts may derail proposed comprehensive immigration reform. To ask any immigrant advocacy group to abandon its constituency is to buckle under pressure from restrictionists and the religious right.


    Supporting a legislative agenda that marginalizes others makes us co-conspirators in the the furtherance of hate and intolerance. We need all immigrant advocacy groups to remain unified in the face of opposition to comprehensive immigration reform. We can't allow ourselves to be divided. To do so is to leave people behind. What kind of comprehensive immigration reform would that be?


    Elaine H. Witty

  4. #4
    Regina
    Guest

    ILW Not an Advocate

    This Comment by ILW is disheartening, to say the least. It is not enough to say that an organization is an advocate for equality, you must actually advocate for equality. For those unfamiliar with the way the current sea change in political momentum for CIR came about, it did not just happen out of thin air. The LGBT community has led the way with DREAMers (some of whom are also LGBT) and other groups to change the conversation on CIR from something that no conservative politician could talk about without referencing headless bodies to a political reality that no conservative politician can now ignore. Including LGBT equality in CIR is not futile if advocates for equality actually stand up and insist that inclusion is a political reality that cannot be ignored. The groundwork is there and the conversation on LGBT equality has changed drastically in the past 10 years. Now is not the time to tell LGBT families to sit back and patiently wait another 15 years for their turn to maybe, possibly be included in reform.

    ILW's contention that the excluding effects of dropping LGBT equality from a CIR bill will be temporary is simply arrogant and makes me wonder what else the editors are betting on (Lakers to win the NBA championships because it's inevitable? Oh wait.). This certainty about DOMA fixing everything is a thinly veiled excuse for jumping ship on equality in CIR. Furthermore, lumping the LGBT "constituency" together with the elimination of the DV lottery and the sibling visa category belies a gross lack of understanding of the issues. LGBT inclusion in a CIR bill is about the unity of immediate family members - one of the pillars of our immigration system - and reaffirming that a marriage validly performed in the United States will be recognized as valid under our immigration laws. This is not about a special interest group. This is about families.

    Finally, to lecture that "immigration advocates have no business making political statements on equality at the cost of the tremendous, daily, unremitting, inhumane indignities visited upon the undocumented for over a decade" is simply offensive. Clearly the individuals who wrote this Comment have either no experience representing LGBT families, have no idea of the historical context of the LGBT movement in this country, or don't care. Apparently all the times I've had to tell married, LGBT clients to find an employer to sponsor them (if they're in status), to have a parent sponsor them and wait 20 years, or to apply for asylum so they do not have to return to a country where they will be hunted and killed is not tremendous, daily, unremitting, inhumane indignity that bears addressing in CIR.

    Oh, and "stabbing a stiletto in the LGBTQQI community's back"? Really? If ILW counts itself as an advocate for LGBT equality, its got a funny way of showing it.

    Regina Jefferies

  5. #5
    ILW has taken the road most traveled: homophobia express. ILW's equation with the fight for gay rights being something in the realm of a spoiled child who needs to be taught to appreciate what s/he has is astounding. The ironic thing is we are not even asking for "more." Same-sex families are just demanding to be doled out the same benefits that equally-situated heterosexual families receive. The LGBT community is at a negative benefits' posture. We are just looking to get to neutral.


    Those of us who represent bi-national same sex clients know the fight is about those families and about ending the forced destruction of the nuclear family. H1B candidates will have marketability the world over. Employers will pay whatever fees they must. Brothers and sisters will go on to create their own stable, nuclear families (unless they are gay/lesbian) and hopefully they will get to the U.S. if that is their goal. But to say it's okay for 2 gay or lesbian spouses to continue to be denied rights and the ability to simple coexist with each other is sad.


    While CIR can't be everything to everyone, ILW's comments in "Equality Not Yet" is full of bigotry and ignorance directed at the gay and lesbian community it purports to support. With friends like those at ILW, the LGBT community and our families do not need enemies!! The symbiotic relationship that that LGBT community was working in with putative coalition members has now come to an end. Instead groups like ILW would be happy to feast on vulnerable populations rather than stand strong next to the LGBT community.


    This fight is worth fighting and we will continue it with or without groups like ILW. The call to supporters remains: We must stand strong and fight hard until we reach full equality for all!

  6. #6
    Paul O'Dwyer
    Guest

    CIR and LGBT Rights

    Your article, “Equality not yet”, insisting that LGBT rights must not intrude on the possibility of immigration reform, is a disgrace. The much-discussed amendment to require immigration benefits for same-sex couples has not yet even been proposed, yet you have all behaved like giddy rats who suspect a potential sinking ship and can’t get off quick enough.

    Your argument that a discussion of this issue will “embitter” and jeopardize debate on the senate floor, underscores the urgency of the need for such a debate in the first place. If indeed the topic of LGBT rights is likely to cause this reaction in the Senate (and I don’t believe it will), shying away from this debate for this reason ensures that it just festers and gets worse, not better. The gains we have made over the last 20 or 30 years didn’t happen because we avoided potentially “embittered” debate, but instead because we had those debates and as a result, we won them. Silence = Death. Action = Life.

    Your next argument is that unlike other groups such as F-4 visa holders, siblings of US citizens and Indian IT professionals, we will eventually get our benefits (just not now), so we should just be thankful we are gay and not computer programmers from Bombay. I think you miss the point here. Being gay is a bit more than an immigration classification, and denying immigration benefits to a whole class of people because of their sexual orientation can hardly be equated with tightening the rules for H-1 workers, or no longer allowing US citizens to sponsor their adult siblings for permanent residence.

    The last point of your argument, stuck somewhere in your patronizing and slightly weird overview of partisan politics and the American civil war, seems to be that (a) unlike you, LGBT advocates don’t really understand how politics work, (which may or may not be true, but given that immigration reform seems to only happen once every thirty years, it seems we are not the only ones), and (b) we are only concerned with “equality” whereas real immigration reform (which we are standing in the way of) will relieve “tremendous, daily, unremitting, inhumane indignities” that we apparently do not suffer from. Now either you are completely unaware that same-sex partners of US citizens can be and are detained and deported from the US, which is a tremendous, daily, unremitting, inhumane indignity, or else you are aware of it but you think it’s fine. Either way, you’ve gotten it wrong. This isn’t the misery Olympics, with green cards given to the most oppressed. Recognizing same-sex relationships for immigration purposes is either right, or it’s wrong. It’s not a comparative analysis.

    You conclude by saying that “perhaps immigration advocates have a plan to stab the stiletto into the LGBTQQI community's back at the right moment. If so, we commend them for possessing the smarts necessary to ensure that CIR becomes an Act of Congress at long, long last.”
    Whether or not this was meant ironically, or as some weird attempt at humor, it is really offensive and homophobic. Suggesting that you commend whoever “stabs a stiletto” into our backs, when so many of us in the LGBT Community have been literally stabbed, in the back and other places, is just disgusting. And your reference to “stiletto” is just as offensive. These sentiments display an underlying and slightly vicious homophobia that you would do well to address. In the meantime, you should stop posting such inflammatory and hostile essays.

    Paul O'Dwyer

  7. #7
    I seem to remember similar arguments for not raising women's issues or Civil Rights in the student movements in the 1960's. They would be "divisive" we were told. And for that matter, similar arguments have been used to avoid LGBT issues from being raised in the women's movement and in the civil rights movement. Or women's issues and worker's issues being seen as "divisive" in various national liberation struggles. I am torn between quoting from Orwell's Animal Farm (All animals are equal but some are more equal than others) or Pastor Niemoller (do I need to even bother filling this in?) to show the absurdity of ILW's arguments. Let us hope this was just someone at ILW writing w/o thinking and such nonsense won't be repeated here.

  8. #8
    And also, can I add this to the debate?

    http://immigrationequalityactionfund...ledge_to_call/
    immigrationequalityactionfund.orgWe’re waiting for the Uniting American Families Act to be added as an amendment in committee. The moment it happens, your Senators will need to hear from you.

  9. #9
    Matt Streff
    Guest
    To believe that we should subordinate the civil rights of one oppressed group to another belies any notion of justice, fairness, or humanity.

    You mention the “tremendous, daily, unremitting, inhumane indignities” that immigrants undergo. I agree that many immigrants are effectively humiliated daily. Gay individuals experience similar degradation by existing as second-class citizens in this country. Only very recently has the gay rights movement achieved de-criminalization, and we’ll hope that the specter of removal proceedings will someday be a thing of the past for law-abiding New Americans. Both gays and immigrants can experience fear, trepidation, and discrimination in the workforce. The histories of immigrants and gays are both filled with cruelty and violence. I sought a career in immigration to confront the hatred to which our communities have been subjected.

    We should be coming together to advocate both causes on the tide of the very recent political trends favoring both immigrants and gays. This is not the time to be divisive.

  10. #10
    Dear Sam,

    I wish to thank you for having published my monthly column, Consular Corner, since 2007, and to advise that I will no longer be submitting the column to Immigration Daily.

    Your op-ed entitled "Equality not yet" accuses the LGBT community of undermining immigration reform. The op-ed is shockingly ignorant and mean-spirited towards people who for years have labored in the trenches to advance immigration equality, arguably the most important civil rights issue of our time.

    I no longer wish to be associated with Immigration Daily. The op-ed was greatly offensive to me and to people who inspire me. As you wrote, choices need to be made, and mine is to stand up and be counted with beloved friends and colleagues to whom "equality not yet" is simply not an option.

    Sincerely,

    Liam Schwartz

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