On Oct. 5, across 80 cities, we will mobilize on behalf of our nation’s 11 million undocumented men, women and children – saying the time for comprehensive, compassionate immigration is now. We won’t live in the shadows in fear of being deported or detained. As a lesbian, I’ll be there to say to the 267,000 of us who are undocumented and lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender that the country we love shouldn’t make us live in two closets anymore.
Published: October 1, 2013
We will be massing by the thousands – gay and straight, documented and citizens, labor and business, left and right – so our voices won’t get lost in the din of politics or posturing. And poll after poll shows a majority of American voters – including a majority of Republicans – are with us. We want our broken immigration system fixed, we want a balanced approach to reform, and we strongly support a path to citizenship.
That’s why the Senate’s bipartisan bill, while far from perfect, should have paved the way forward on this urgent issue. Instead, immigration reform has become a political football in the House. Leaders – including those who trumpet the importance of family – have stood idly by as 1,100 immigrant families are torn apart by deportations each day. But last week, Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi said she would bring a comprehensive immigration bill to her colleagues.
To our elected leaders in the House, we have a message. Truly comprehensive reform must do the following:
— It must contain a path to citizenship for our country’s undocumented immigrants and eliminate the one-year bar on applying for asylum.
— It must improve conditions for people held in detention, limit use of solitary confinement, and prohibit its use based solely on a detainee’s sexual orientation or gender identity.
— It must not be cause for wasteful and unnecessary build-up of border security.
It’s not enough to offer undocumented immigrants work permits. That approach relegates millions of people to a permanent underclass.
It’s not enough to address the status of immigrant youth only, pretending they don’t have families and friends who must live on in fear. In fact, Dreamers, including the LGBT people who have helped lead their movement, have spoken out against a policy that legalizes them but deports their parents.
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