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

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