The gays will be in the upcoming immigration bill, or at least Democrats will give the old college try:
Rep. Luis Gutierrez of Illinois, Rep. Mike Honda of California and others will urge Congress to pass the Uniting American Families Act this year as part of a comprehensive immigration reform package.
But both parties are skeptical of that strategy. They warn that introducing a contentious issue just months before the midterm elections could add fuel to the immigration debate and erode support from lawmakers in socially conservative districts.
"It adds another dimension to the issue that will be the subject of significant debate," said Rep. Bennie Thompson (D-Miss.), chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee. "For sure, it will enhance the debate."
Let's see, the watered down DADT deal is in peril, the incredibly popular ENDA, which was also severely compromised, didn't even get a vote this year, we're still waiting on DP benefits for federal workers, DOMA isn't even getting discussed, several other, smaller LGBT bills have been introduced and gone nowhere, and this is the one we're supposed to believe in?
Not even getting into the substance of the current comprehensive immigration reform bill being discussed or same-sex partner sponsorship, immigration is probably the most politically complicated issue in the US right now. Racists don't want "amnesty" and want to build a wall and arrest more Mexicans, liberals want a system that treats immigrants more respectfully while keeping their labor cheap, nativists want to prevent them from working and punish their employers, business wants immigrants to keep on coming over without papers so that they don't have rights, and the left wants them to be treated decently, get papers, and have access to basic rights and protections.
The issue is a 50-dimensional tightrope walk, and considering how little Democrats want to challenge the status quo, how inept they've proven themselves at getting any legislation with even the slightest hint of controversy through (and how beholden they are to big-money interests), and how little they care about LGBT issues, same-sex partner sponsorship is just not going to happen in 2010.
They have comedians writing this stuff for the Democrats in Washington, right?
Anyway, three random thoughts on this, since immigration is an issue that's near and dear to me what with everyone in my family moving to different countries and everyone getting married with furrinners and traveling around for no good reason:
- If the immigration bill generally sucks (more punishment of undocumented immigrants, a fence, more troops on the border, no program to get papers to people who need them, etc.), but this measure is added to it, will it really be a victory? LGBT activists were bizarrely asking the opposite - what to do if the bill is generally good but same-sex partner sponsorship is left out - just a few months go, but Washington has even less respect for undocumented workers than it does for LGBT people.
- Partner sponsorship is fairly complicated for straight people, and includes forcing the citizen to prove that s/he has enough of an income to support another person, etc. My parents are a straight, binational couple, but my mother didn't get her green card (and, subsequently, her citizenship) through marriage. She decided it wasn't worth it.
My brother and his girlfriend, who isn't a US citizen, are going the marriage route because getting a work visa, even for someone who has needed, professional skills like she does, can't crack this nut. Maybe the US doesn't need any more nurses? Either way, the system is messed up and no one should have to get married to move to the US.
- Even though it actually wouldn't solve 90% of the problem, we wouldn't be having this debate if the Democrats had gotten rid of DOMA.