UAFA - Uniting American Families Act

CNN just did a piece on the struggles faced by gay bi-national married couples. And this is as good a reason as any to have a teaching moment and highlight this issue. Especially with comprehensive immigration reform somewhere on the perhaps distant horizon. Never knowing when or how long you can be with your spouse is a reality faced by 36,000+ couples in the US every day. And its time we all work to help change that.

My husband's graduate program current takes him away for a summer season at a time occasionally, to Rome last time, most recently to Greece where he is now. I can't imagine it would be like to have him fly away like that and not know when or if he could come back, and not know how long he could stay the next time he comes back, and having to always try to live in 2 worlds. But 36,000+ couples in the US face that reality every day. And its time we all work to help change that.

I saw this video on Pam's House Blend, so I wanted to give a shout out for the source material. I must give a shout out to Congressman Price for his previous efforts to co-sponsor UAFA and to Secretary Marshall for taking on UAFA as an issue in her senate campaign.

A lot of what is needed for immigration equality for gay couples is simply education. If you would, please take a moment to check your representatives issues page on their congressional webpages & campaign webpages, and if you don't see UAFA then shoot them an e-mail saying you support it, and spelling out what it is. I feel like most people know what DADT repeal is without the acronym being spelled out, probably DOMA repeal too, but I'm not sure as many know UAFA and the first step is to change that. So let your representatives know, and let your friends know. It can be as simple as posting a link to this blog on your facebook or twitter.

Additional reading:


you brought this to my attention this year

I warned you then that immigration reform was an uphill battle without this legislaion, and as of now I doubt immigration laws will be passed until next year at least, I feel for you but you I think you are going to be dissapointed.

I think everyone who supported

comprehensive immigration reform for this year is probably going to be disappointed, not just the LGBT equality crowd, with the kind of time-line we're looking at now.

The best we can do is use the extra time to be advocates and educators on the issue.

And of course cast votes for UAFA supporters like Senate candidate Elaine Marshall & Congressmen David Price and Brad Miller.

I spent some time looking through a few sites, and based on that's my congress and open congress I've created a list NC representatives that have acted on pro-equality legislation (not necessarily consistently).

District 4 - Rep. Price cosponsored ENDA & voted in favor of DADT repeal, & cosponsored the Matthew Shepard Act, & cosponsored UAFA, & cosponsored DOMA repeal.

District 13 - Rep. Miller cosponsored ENDA & voted in favor of DADT repeal, & cosponsored the Matthew Shepard Act, & cosponsored UAFA.

District 12 - Rep. Watt cosponsored ENDA & voted in favor of DADT repeal, & voted for the Matthew Shepard Act.

District 8 - Rep. Kissell voted in favor of DADT repeal, & voted for the Matthew Shepard Act.

District 1 - Rep. Butterfield voted in favor of DADT repeal.

District 2 - Rep. Etheridge voted in favor of the Matthew Shepard Act.

I notice if you basically cut the state into 3rds, its the center 3rd that has any congressional lgbt equality support

These might be the people to start with for building support, but it wouldn't hurt to reach out to any representative.

Thanks, Jake

A good post ... and much appreciated.


UAFA, reflecting on 2010 & now

CNN seems to do one of these videos highlighting the problems with a lack of a provision like UAFA each year. Some progress has been made since I made this old blog entry back in 2010. My understanding is that deporting binational couples is now a low priority after the Obama administration's DOJ said they believe DOMA (the reason for the need for something like UAFA) is unconstitutional.

DOMA is till on the books though, and given the current make up and attitudes of the Congress it's hard to see UAFA passing this year. The best things folks like us, who support UAFA and who support repealing DOMA, can do I believe is make sure we don't put a super-DOMA into our state's constitution this May.


I wanted to go back and unlock this blog entry, at least briefly, because the LGBT immigration issue is one I've blogged about a few times on Blue NC over the years.

As you could see 3 years ago I was wondering if and when comprehensive immigration reform would ever come, if LGBT bi-national couples would be included (Rubio said recently he bury the whole immigration reform if anyone tried), and how much we could really achieve with DOMA in place.

The ruling against DOMA gives us a big win on this front!

Can LGBT couples get green cards now?
Yes, most families will now be able to obtain a green card.

With the end of DOMA, LGBT families will be treated the same under immigration law as different-sex immigrant families. Immigration law is complicated and there will still be barriers for some couples, but the systemic discrimination that prevented our families from receiving the same respect under the law as others has ended. Green card applications will no longer be denied solely because a couple is lesbian or gay.

Do we have to live in a marriage equality state to apply for a green card?
No. If you have a marriage that is valid in the state or country where you were married – regardless of where you live – that marriage makes you eligible to apply for a green card.

I think it will also clean up a lot of lingering problems with DADT repeal that still existed because DOMA blocked certain benefits, rights, and responsibilities for couples. So I just wanted to lift up this LGBT victory, not just on marriage, but also on immigration and military service. Victories are too rare not to lift them up and celebrate them!