Thursday, June 4, 2009

Honda Introduces a Key Component of Comprehensive Immigration Reform

As I type, Representative Mike Honda is holding a press conference announcing the introduction of a key component of comprehensive immigration reform: the Reuniting Families Act.

The Reuniting Families Act takes important steps in helping immigrant families reunite more quickly by ending backlogs that create unconscionable wait periods and helping protect families from being separated.

At FCNL, we see family as the bedrock of U.S. society and believe that it is critical in the development of healthy individuals and strong communities. Immigration policies should make expeditious family reunification a top priority and should include all families as part of that foundation which holds our communities together. It is atrocious that our current system requires siblings of US citizens to wait between 10 and 22 years to be reunited and that the children and spouses of permanent residents must wait as long as seven years to legally come to the United States. Families should be together.

We are also pleased that Rep. Honda's bill upholds the rights of both same-sex and opposite-sex partners. Under current immigration law, LGBT persons cannot sponsor their foreign born partners for immigration, no matter how long they have been together or how committed their relationship, even though U.S. immigration law is based on the principle of “family unification.” This is simply a matter of unequal treatment and clearly a matter of civil rights. We applaud Rep. Honda for this attempt to reverse years of discrimination against LGBT people in immigration law.

The Reuniting Families Act goes a long way in righting the injustices of the current family immigration system and moves towards keeping families together. Thank you, Rep. Honda!

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