On Wednesday, Sept. 28, Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi and Congressman Jerrold Nadler – the ranking Democrat on the Judiciary Subcommittee on the Constitution and lead sponsor of the Uniting American Families Act – led 67 additional Members of Congress in advocating the protection of LGBT binational families from unnecessary deportation.
The 69 members banded together and sent letters to Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano and Attorney General Eric Holder requesting that LGBT family ties be taken under consideration in ongoing deportation cases involving binational same-sex couples.
The letters read: “The recognition of LGBT family ties as a positive factor is a critical step forward in identifying key family and community ties to implement common-sense immigrations enforcement. We ask that you ensure that this recognition is reflected in the work of DHS and DOJ employees and the newly-established working group in implementing your priorities for immigration enforcement… Without specific guidance, it is unlikely that the agency officers, agents, and attorneys making decisions about individual cases will be aware that LGBT family ties are a factor for consideration exercising discretion in closing or not initiating removal proceedings.”
The Obama administration had recently announced a concerted effort to prioritize immigration enforcement and, while the importance of recognizing family ties in analyzing immigration cases was discussed, it was not explicitly stated that LGBT family ties – including those of spouses and partners of US citizens and residents – be included in that effort.
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