Immigration reform for all families: UAFA in 2010

Immigration reform is on the table and in the headlines, even in Anchorage where locals participated in the national May Day rally last weekend. A group called Out4Immigration is working to get the Uniting American Families Act (UAFA) passed in 2010, and they need our help:
Dear Bent Alaska,

My name is Tom and I'm a member of Out4Immigration, an all-volunteer grassroots organization fighting to end discrimination against LGBT Americans in our nation's immigration laws. We need help in Alaska with this important issue...

As you may be aware, if an American citizen (or legal permanent resident) falls in love with someone from another country, they may petition for an immigration benefit to bring that person to the US (green card).

If you happen to be LGBT, you are denied this basic right.

Even if you get married, or enter into a civil union or domestic partnership in any of the states or other nations that allow this, you still cannot bring your spouse or partner to the US.

21 other nations (most of our closest allies, Western Europe, Canada, Australia, Israel and South Africa) allow their LGBT citizens to sponsor their foreign-born partners, and most of these nations do not have marriage equality.

There is a bill pending before Congress called the Uniting American Families Act (UAFA, S. 424/H.R. 1024) that would end this discrimination. It would allow gay and lesbian Americans to sponsor their partner (or spouse), in the same manner that straight couples can, along with the same penalties for fraud.

Over 36,000 bi-national, same-sex couples are affected by this, and almost half of them are raising children.

Families are being torn apart every day - Americans are being forced to chose between heart and home - because they are not allowed to prove the validity of their relationships simply because they are LGBT.

We are fighting to make sure 2010 is the year that UAFA passes, and are pushing for it to be included in the larger comprehensive immigration reform bills that are expected this year.

[Please ask your readers] to call Senator Begich and Senator Murkowski about this issue, and urge the Senators to co-sponsor this bill and support LGBT inclusion in comprehensive immigration reform!

I am reaching out because I know there are folks in the area affected by this, but many are too fearful to speak out.
If you are a GLBT Alaskan who is struggling with immigration issues because you are gay, please contact Bent Alaska. Local allies who are working on immigration reform would like to hear your concerns. Molly Haigh, coordinator of the May 1 Anchorage immigration reform rally writes:
"We are having a next steps conversation on the 14th of May where we are discussing how to integrate the immigration group into a more long term locally minded organization (to work on both national and local issues) and I would love to have you as a part of that conversation... The best way to keep LGBT issues on the immigration agenda would be to have someone in our leadership group focused on the issue!"
Alaskans who want LGBT provisions like the Uniting American Families Act to be included in the immigration reform bill are encouraged to contact Molly.

And please call our senators today in support of UAFA!
Contact Senator Murkowski at 202.224.6665 or via e-mail.
Contact Senator Begich at 202.224.3004 or via e-mail.

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