World Library  
Flag as Inappropriate
Email this Article
 

Uniting American Families Act

Uniting American Families Act
Legislative history
Bill citation H.R. 519
S. 296
Bill published on February 5, 2013
Introduced by Rep. Jerry Nadler (D-NY)
Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-VT)
Uniting American Families Act of 2013
Great Seal of the United States
Full title To amend the Immigration and Nationality Act to promote family unity, and for other purposes.
Introduced in 113th United States Congress
Introduced on February 5, 2013
Sponsored by Rep. Jerrold Nadler (D, NY-10)
Number of Co-Sponsors 16
Effects and Codifications
Act(s) affected Cuban Adjustment Act, Cuban Refugee Adjustment Act, Immigration and Nationality Act, LIFE Act, Miscellaneous Appropriations Act, 2001
Agencies affected Department of Homeland Security,
Legislative history

The Uniting American Families Act (UAFA, H.R. 519, S. 296) is a U.S. bill to amend the Immigration and Nationality Act of 1952 to eliminate discrimination in immigration by permitting permanent partners of United States citizens and of lawful permanent residents to obtain lawful permanent resident status in the same manner as spouses of citizens and of lawful permanent residents and to penalize immigration fraud in connection with permanent partnerships.[1][2] If the partnership ends within two years, the sponsored partner's immigrant status would be subject to review.[3]

Beginning in the 111th Congress, the full text of UAFA, further expanded to provide rights to the children or stepchildren of the foreign-born partner, has been included as Title II of the Reuniting Families Act (H.R. 717), an immigration reform bill, last introduced in the United States House of Representatives on February 14, 2013, by California Congressman Michael Honda (D-CA).[4][5]

UAFA was introduced on February 13, 2013, in the United States Senate by Vermont Senator Patrick Leahy (D-VT)[6] and in the United States House of Representatives by New York Congressman Jerrold Nadler (D-NY).[7] The Senate version has 29 cosponsors.[8] The Senate legislation has been referred to the Senate Committee on the Judiciary.[9] Most of the cosponsors are Democrats and there is little Republican support for the legislation.[10] The 2013 bill was cosponsored by Republican Congressmen Charlie Dent and Richard L. Hanna.

There are an estimated 36,000 same-sex binational couples in 2000, according to the Census, who could benefit from this act.[3]

Contents

  • Definitions of Permanent Partner and Permanent Partnership 1
  • Legislative history 2
  • Support for Uniting American Families Act 3
  • Opposition to Uniting American Families Act 4
  • Coverage of different-sex couples 5
  • References 6
  • External links 7

Definitions of Permanent Partner and Permanent Partnership

UAFA includes the following definitions:[11]

The term "permanent partner" means an individual 18 years of age or older who--
(A) is in a committed, intimate relationship with another individual 18 years of age or older in which both parties intend a lifelong commitment;
(B) is financially interdependent with that other individual;
(C) is not married to or in a permanent partnership with anyone other than that other individual;
(D) is unable to contract with that other individual a marriage cognizable under this Act; and
(E) is not a first, second, or third degree blood relation of that other individual.
The term "permanent partnership" means the relationship that exists between two permanent partners.

Legislative history

Congress Short title Bill number(s) Date introduced Sponsor # of cosponsors (excluding sponsor) Latest status
106th Congress Permanent Partners Immigration Act of 2000 H.R. 3650 February 14, 2000 Rep. Jerry Nadler (D-NY) 59 Died in House Subcommittee on Immigration and Claims
107th Congress Permanent Partners Immigration Act of 2001 H.R. 690 February 14, 2001 Rep. Jerry Nadler (D-NY) 106 Died in House Subcommittee on Immigration and Claims
108th Congress Permanent Partners Immigration Act of 2003 H.R. 832 February 13, 2003 Rep. Jerry Nadler (D-NY) 129 Died in House Subcommittee on Immigration, Border Security and Claims
S. 1510 July 31, 2003 Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-VT) 12 Died in Senate Judiciary Committee
109th Congress Permanent Partners Immigration Act
Uniting American Families Act
H.R. 3006 June 21, 2005 Rep. Jerry Nadler (D-NY) 115 Died in House Subcommittee on Immigration, Border Security, and Claims
S. 1278 June 21, 2005 Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-VT) 13 Died in Senate Judiciary Committee
110th Congress Uniting American Families Act of 2007 H.R. 2221 May 8, 2007 Rep. Jerry Nadler (D-NY) 118 Died in House Subcommittee on Immigration, Citizenship, Refugees, Border Security, and International Law
S. 1328 May 8, 2007 Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-VT) 18 Died in Senate Judiciary Committee
111th Congress Uniting American Families Act of 2009 H.R. 1024 February 12, 2009 Rep. Jerry Nadler (D-NY) 135 Died in House Subcommittee on Immigration, Citizenship, Refugees, Border Security, and International Law
S. 424 February 12, 2009 Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-VT) 25 Died in Senate Judiciary Committee
Reuniting Families Act
(Title II: Uniting American Families Act)
H.R. 2709 June 4, 2009 Rep. Michael Honda (D-CA) 81 Died in House Judiciary Committee
112th Congress Uniting American Families Act of 2011 H.R. 1537 April 14, 2011 Rep. Jerry Nadler (D-NY) 144 Died in House Judiciary Committee.
S. 821 April 14, 2011 Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-VT) 29 Died in Senate Judiciary Committee
Reuniting Families Act
(Title II: Uniting American Families Act)
H.R. 1796 May 6, 2011 Rep. Michael Honda (D-CA) 78 Died in House Judiciary Committee.
113th Congress Uniting American Families Act of 2013 H.R. 519 February 5, 2013 Rep. Jerry Nadler (D-NY) 139 Referred to the House Judiciary Committee.
S. 296 February 13, 2013 Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-VT) 30 Referred to Senate Judiciary Committee
Reuniting Families Act
(Title II: Uniting American Families Act)
H.R. 717 February 14, 2013 Rep. Michael Honda (D-CA) 68 Referred to House Judiciary Committee.

In the House of Representatives the bill was referred to the United States House Judiciary Subcommittee on Immigration, Citizenship, Refugees, Border Security, and International Law.[12] This subcommittee has sixteen members including the Chairman Zoe Lofgren (D-CA) and ranking member Representative Steve King (R-IA). The subcommittee consists of representatives from the states of California, Texas, Illinois, Utah, Iowa, Mississippi, New York and Resident Commissioner Pedro Pierluisi (D) from Puerto Rico. The subcommittee has six Republicans and ten Democrats on board.[13]

In the Senate the bill was referred to the Senate Committee on the Judiciary which consists of nineteen members which includes Chairman Patrick Leahy (D-VT) who re-introduced the bill and Ranking Member Senator

  • H.R. 519, House Bill Summary & Status via THOMAS
  • S. 296, Senate Bill Summary & Status via THOMAS
  • Immigration Equality
  • National Center for Lesbian Rights
  • Out4Immigration Out4Immigration addresses the widespread discriminatory impact of U.S. immigration laws on the lives of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and HIV+ people and their families through education, outreach, advocacy and the maintenance of a resource and support network.
  • Love Exiles Love Exiles was founded by US citizens that were forced to choose between their love and their country, a choice no citizen should ever have to make. The need to choose comes as a result of US immigration law that discriminates against gays and lesbians. Love Exiles have virtual communities and activist centers in the Netherlands, Canada, the UK, Spain, Australia and Germany.
  • Human Rights Campaign
  • Human Rights Watch
  • Website of "Through Thick and Thin", a documentary about the immigration struggles of gay and lesbian couples in America - (April 20, 2008 Internet Archive)
  • Uniting American Families, Website advocating passage of UAFA and featuring true stories of binational same-sex couples who are adversely affected by the status quo
  • imeq.us Gay Immigration Equality Rights: Promoting public awareness of the need for fairness in immigration policy particularly as it relates to the rights of same-sex bi-national couples in the United States (USA) who seek immigration equality or equal immigration rights; Providing information regarding political issues relating to gay immigration equality rights and policy.
  • Video of UAFA Senate hearings (June 3, 2009)

External links

  1. ^ H.R. 519
  2. ^ S. 296
  3. ^ a b c d http://www.gaylesbiantimes.com/?id=5331&issue=915
  4. ^ [1], Title II - Uniting American Families Act.
  5. ^ H.R. 717
  6. ^ Senator Patrick Leahy (February 13, 2013).[2] Press Release.
  7. ^ Representative Jerrold Nadler (February 5, 2013). [3] Press Release.
  8. ^ U.S. Senate. 113th Congress, 1st Session. op. cit., see Cosponsors.
  9. ^ http://www.govtrack.us/congress/bill.xpd?bill=s113-296
  10. ^ National Journal: David Gauvey Herbert, "Uniting American Families Act," October 27, 2010, accessed March 5, 2012
  11. ^ U.S. House. 113th Congress, 1st Session. op. cit., see Text of Legislation, Sec. 2.
  12. ^ http://www.govtrack.us/congress/bill.xpd?bill=h111-1024
  13. ^ http://judiciary.house.gov/about/subimmigration.html
  14. ^ http://www.govtrack.us/congress/committee.xpd?id=SSJU
  15. ^ http://judiciary.senate.gov/hearings/hearing.cfm?id=3876
  16. ^ http://immigrationequality.org/blog/?p=904
  17. ^ a b Lawrence, Stewart J (April 18, 2010). "US immigration's gay rights divide". The Guardian (London). 
  18. ^ http://www.gutierrez.house.gov/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=600:rep-gutierrez-uafa-provisions-must-be-part-of-any-comprehensive-immigration-reform-bill&catid=43:2010-press-releases
  19. ^ http://www.advocate.com/News/Daily_News/2010/03/18/Schumer_Signals_UAFA_Inclusion/
  20. ^ http://www.advocate.com/News/Daily_News/2010/04/29/Arizona_Law_Bad_for_Gay_Binational_Couples/
  21. ^ Human Rights Campaign: "Talking Points: The Uniting American Families Act", accessed March 5, 2012
  22. ^ http://www.aclu.org/lgbt-rights_hiv-aids/aclu-letter-senate-united-american-families-act
  23. ^ http://www.sdgln.com/causes/2010/02/05/thomas-saenz-president-maldef-creating-change
  24. ^ http://immigrationequalityactionfund.org/legislation/endorsements/
  25. ^ Preston, Julia (June 3, 2009). "Bill Proposes Immigration Rights for Gay Couples". The New York Times. 
  26. ^ a b Melloy, Kilian (June 3, 2009). "Effort to Include Gay Partners Threatens Immigration Bill". Edge Boston. 
  27. ^ http://www.usccb.org/comm/archives/2009/09-122.shtml
  28. ^ Beck, Roy (June 3, 2009). "My Testimony Today to Senate Judiciary Committee Asks Decisions Be Made In National Interest -- Not For Special Interests". Numbers USA. 
  29. ^ a b Timothy R. Carraher, "Some Suggestions for the UAFA: A Bill for Same-Sex Binational Couples," Northwestern Journal of Law and Social Policy, vol. 4 (Winter 2009), available online, accessed March 5, 2012

References

Although the bill is designed to align the rights of same-sex couples with those of different-sex couples, binational same-sex couples are unlikely to resemble different-sex couples. This could be due to international immigration law, especially in the case of financial interdependence if certain countries require finances to be kept separate in these cases, thus already excluding some couples and asking more than what different-sex couples must prove.

The bill's language applies only to applicable LGBT individuals and excludes different-sex couples from becoming permanent partners under its provisions.[29] Same-sex couples with valid marriage certificates are prohibited from being considered "married" under this act and can only apply for visas as permanent partners. Due to the inability to be recognized as married partners under this act, the act then allows individuals who have had the opportunity in other states and countries to be married, but have chosen not to, the same immigration rights as those who have pursued marriage.[29]

Coverage of different-sex couples

Opponents believe that UAFA could open up the doors for NumbersUSA, which works for lower immigration levels, believes that increasing the number of green cards available, as the Uniting American Families Act would, is of profound environmental importance, connected to infrastructure debit and increases the amount of individuals competing for jobs in the market, which is not in the best interest for the national community. NumbersUSA is concerned that this is another type of piecemeal legislation that does not consider the increased number of green cards as a whole which is detrimental to the national community.[28]

Opposition to Uniting American Families Act

[24] Several corporations and organizations, such as

The support for the Uniting American Families Act has increased in the House of Representatives, but much less so in the Senate.[3] Organizations such as the Human Rights Campaign (HRC) and Immigration Equality, both supporters of LGBT rights legislation, support the bill. The HRC points out that the process for sponsoring a partner will have the same requirements that opposite-sex couples face. HRC also reports that 22 countries recognize same-sex couples under immigration law, including France, Germany, Israel, and the United Kingdom, among others.[21] The American Civil Liberties Union wrote in a letter of support for UAFA to senators that the bill does not provide special benefits for same-sex couples, but provides equal sponsorship. The ACLU also mentions that the bill follows traditional family reunification principles in immigration law that are already commonplace in various countries.[22] The Mexican American Legal Defense and Education Fund (MALDEF) supports UAFA and asks that comprehensive immigration reform include lesbian and gay immigrants.[23]

Support for Uniting American Families Act

On December 15, 2009, Congressman Luis Gutiérrez (D-IL) introduced his comprehensive immigration reform bill, H.R. 4321, the Comprehensive Immigration Reform for America's Security and Prosperity Act of 2009 (CIR ASAP Act). Initially, it did not include UAFA, which upset many gay rights activists.[17] However, on July 15, 2010, Congressman Gutiérrez announced, "provisions of UAFA must be part of any comprehensive immigration reform bill."[18] Senator Charles Schumer wrote a letter to his LGBT constituency in March 2010 indicating that he is currently working with colleagues of both parties to work on comprehensive immigration reform. This comprehensive immigration reform, which in Senator Schumer’s mind is more effective than “piecemeal legislation”, will address the issue in the Uniting American Families Act.[19] An important political issue with UAFA revolves around the principle of family reunification; many conservatives do not want to be seen as anti-family reunification, especially with the growing Latino voter base.[17] Of note, is the fact that forty percent of LGBT binational couples in the United States include a Latino family member.[20]

[16]

This article was sourced from Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License; additional terms may apply. World Heritage Encyclopedia content is assembled from numerous content providers, Open Access Publishing, and in compliance with The Fair Access to Science and Technology Research Act (FASTR), Wikimedia Foundation, Inc., Public Library of Science, The Encyclopedia of Life, Open Book Publishers (OBP), PubMed, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Center for Biotechnology Information, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health (NIH), U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, and USA.gov, which sources content from all federal, state, local, tribal, and territorial government publication portals (.gov, .mil, .edu). Funding for USA.gov and content contributors is made possible from the U.S. Congress, E-Government Act of 2002.
 
Crowd sourced content that is contributed to World Heritage Encyclopedia is peer reviewed and edited by our editorial staff to ensure quality scholarly research articles.
 
By using this site, you agree to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. World Heritage Encyclopedia™ is a registered trademark of the World Public Library Association, a non-profit organization.
 


Copyright © World Library Foundation. All rights reserved. eBooks from Project Gutenberg are sponsored by the World Library Foundation,
a 501c(4) Member's Support Non-Profit Organization, and is NOT affiliated with any governmental agency or department.