The Association of Latino Men for Action (ALMA) is adding our name to the list of official endorsements of the Uniting American Families Act (UAFA). This is a legislation that would allow a U.S. citizen or permanent resident to sponsor their same-sex partner for immigration purposes to the U.S., a right which heterosexual couples have. The bill currently has 130 co-sponsors in the House of Representatives, and 23 in the Senate.
At ALMA we believe that this is a crucial step towards recognizing equal rights of same sex couples by the federal government. At the same time our organization understands that the passage of this legislation would not solve the problems facing the millions of undocumented immigrants currently living in the U.S. or in immigration detention, including those who are part of the LGBT community. Nevertheless, the legislation would open opportunities that currently do not exist for same-sex couples in a significant way, including those who have partners that are undocumented. Two examples of the potential impact of this legislation are:
- A person with a federally recognized spouse of a U.S. citizen will go through the process of naturalization, by about 2 years, due to their relationship. Currently that only includes heterosexual couples.
- If same-sex couples were to be recognized, there is a chance that undocumented members of U.S. citizens might be able to qualify for a green card without leaving the country, under a recently announced policy change by the Obama administration. Currently, only federally recognized spouses would qualify.
As we continue to support legislation that opens up conditional opportunities for LGBT immigrants, ALMA pledges to continue to fight towards comprehensive immigration reform that opens a path to citizenship for undocumented immigrants in the United States.