As the conversation for immigration reform continues to heat up, GetEQUAL released the following statement today in response to Senator Marco Rubio's recent attempts to offer an immigration framework that only offers relief to a very small percentage of immigrants:
"Yesterday, Senator Marco Rubio offered up a short-sighted, quick fix to the immigration system that completely ignores some of the most vulnerable immigrants," said Felipe Sousa-Rodriguez, national field director for GetEQUAL.
"As a gay undocumented Floridian who is happily married to a permanent resident of the same gender, I know firsthand how detrimental Senator Rubio's immigration plan would be to immigrants. Good, humane, serious immigration policy would not leave an entire segment of the immigrant community in perpetual legal hell because of our sexual orientation or gender identity. If Senator Rubio is, in good faith, attempting to actually fix the immigration system, he would see that his statement is not acceptable."
Senator Rubio's framework for immigration involves sending immigrants to the "back of the line" for an undisclosed period of time in order to then wait on a visa that is only available to those who are married to a U.S. citizen of the opposite gender, have family in the U.S. who can sponsor them, or have an employer who can sponsor them. Because of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), this plan specifically omits lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ) immigrants from citizenship, creating a permanent second-class status for LGBTQ immigrants.
In addition to calling on Congress to pass an inclusive, comprehensive immigration reform bill this year, GetEQUAL is also calling on President Obama to use his executive power to stop the massive deportations under his administration, resulting in tragic separation of families across the country, while immigration reform is being considered by Congress.
GetEQUAL hopes to work with Republicans and Democrats to pass inclusive, comprehensive immigration reform in 2013 with a direct pathway to citizenship and other measures such as the Uniting American Families Act (UAFA), an end to the one-year ban for asylum seekers, and the DREAM Act.