News (USA)

Nadler to reintroduce immigration bill that includes gay binational couples

Nadler to reintroduce immigration bill that includes gay binational couples

WASHINGTON — Rep. Jerrold Nadler (D-N.Y.) is set to reintroduce legislation on Tuesday that would enable gay Americans to sponsor their foreign partners for a green card as debate continues over whether such language should be included as part of comprehensive immigration reform.

Rep. Jerrold Nadler (D-N.Y.)
Photo: Michael Key, Washington Blade

The legislation, known as the Uniting American Families Act, is expected to be introduced in the U.S. House but not the Senate, according to two sources familiar with the bill.

Although information on co-sponsors wasn’t immediately available, the bill is expected to have bipartisan support. Last year, the bill found support from Reps. Charlie Dent (R-Pa.) and Richard Hanna (R-N.Y.) in the lame duck session of Congress in addition to the 145 Democrats who supported the bill.

Introduction of UAFA in the Senate isn’t expected to be concurrent with House version. Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) has pledged to reintroduce the legislation in that chamber. It’s unclear when the Senate companion of UAFA would be introduced.

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The issues faced by bi-national same-sex couples have received renewed attention as Congress has begun debating legislation to reform U.S. immigration code. While straight Americans can sponsor their foreign spouses for a green card through a marriage-based application, gay Americans are unable to do the same because of the Defense of Marriage Act and because they cannot marry in many places within the country.

President Obama called for inclusion of UAFA-like language as part of comprehensive immigration reform. However, the Senate framework produced by the bi-partisan “Gang of Eight” doesn’t include such language, and Republicans involved with the group — most notably Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) — haven’t indicated support over its inclusion.

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