Comprehensive Immigration Reform is Overdue

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Image via www.citizenship-now.org. Image via www.citizenship-now.org.
By Gregg Moreland, PQ Monthly
In 2001, my partner was an undocumented immigrant in the United States, having been brought here by his parents when he was 10 years old.  He did not have a path toward citizenship himself and both of us lived with an anxiety that he could be deported at any time to a place that would have been almost foreign to him. With a lot of hesitation for fear of being caught, I reached out to one of my senator at that time, Sen. Ron Wyden, to explain the situation and ask if he could do anything about it. In return, the Sen. Wyden sent me a nice response where he indicated that he could not do anything about it at the time, but would remember my issues should the climate in the Senate change in the future. On Feb. 28 of this year, I was in Washington, D.C., as part of the annual Human Rights Campaign (HRC) Lobby Day and I was able to tell the Senator’s staff that the future is now.  The U.S. Senate is currently working on what they refer to as "comprehensive immigration reform." But, is it really “comprehensive†immigration reform?  It will only be comprehensive if it includes LGBT citizens.  The Williams Institute at UCLA has estimated that there are 267,000 LGBT-identified undocumented immigrants in the United States.  HRC, along with several other organizations, is working to push for full comprehensive and inclusive immigration reform and lists nine areas in which to focus to achieve it. How do we get there? It takes all of us to be informed, write letters, call our members in Congress, and even attend rallies.  Following are some ways to get involved:
  • Tomorrow, April 10, there will be a rally in Washington, DC, as well as many locations around the country to highlight the immigration issue.  Go to http://www.citizenship-now.org/ for more details. There are no events in Oregon, but Vancouver, Washington is hosting a couple of events.
  • Sometime this week, call or write your members in Congress.  Even if you haven’t been directly impacted by the immigration problems, you still have a voice and story to tell.  A good tool to use for contacting your Representative and Senators can be found at http://www.contactingthecongress.org/.
My letter to Sen. Wyden was the first time I had ever done anything to contact anyone in Congress. These are people we have elected to represent us. They want to hear our stories.  It is past time for us to fix our immigration system.