The Senate’s immigration compromise is now public and, as expected, it leaves bi-national gay and lesbian couples out in the cold. (In general, the Senate’s idea of compromise is to pretend we don’t exist.)
However, there’s still hope that the immigration bill might be made more fair. LGBT immigration advocates are looking to Sen. Patrick Leahy (D.-Vt.) to introduce an amendment to protect same-sex families. As chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee, Leahy will oversee the hearings on the bill and he’s a logical choice to introduce the amendment, having been on the record for supporting protections for bi-national couples.
“Our total focus is on making sure that we have the votes in committee to ensure that the bill, when it reaches the full senate, does include our families,” Steve Ralls, spokesman for Immigration Equality, told ABC/Univision.
Including protections for bi-national same-sex couples in the bill is hardly a slam dunk. Besides getting the votes for the amendment, advocates have to get the full Senate to sign on to the measure. And you can be sure that no such protections will be included in the House version of the bill, where Republicans will be calling the shots. That means even if the Senate version includes protections, they could get stripped out of the final measure during the process when the House and Senate versions of the bill are reconciled.
So when you hear the mainstream media talk about “comprehensive” immigration reform, remember: by “comprehensive” they mean it doesn’t include you.
Photo credit: U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee