Rep. Jerrold Nadler (NY-10) on Wednesday responded to the withholding of the Leahy Amendment to protect LGBT families in immigration reform legislation:
“As the House sponsor of the Uniting American Families Act (UAFA), I am extremely disappointed that an amendment to ensure equal treatment for same-sex, bi-national couples was withheld, without a vote, during the Senate Judiciary Committee consideration of the immigration reform legislation. I applaud the leadership of Chairman Leahy, who was determined to–and did–offer an amendment that would allow LGBT families to stay together.
“Unfortunately, Senate Republicans made clear that they are unwilling to even consider ending the harsh discrimination that LGBT families face in our immigration process, and the disturbing decision to give in to their threats and fear-mongering has again let prejudice rule the day. Excluding LGBT couples cannot be reconciled with so-called ‘comprehensive’ immigration reform. Committed LGBT couples deserve better than the wanton cruelty that current law exacts, and the failure to even hold a vote both condemns thousands of loving families to more needless suffering and gives unfair cover to those unwilling to stand up for justice.
“Despite this setback, I will continue to press forward in our fight to get relief for these families. And I remain hopeful that the Supreme Court will do what’s right in the Windsor case, by overturning DOMA, and ending discrimination under federal immigration and other laws against legally married same-sex couples.”
Nadler, who first introduced the predecessor to UAFA, the Permanent Partners Immigration Act, in 2000, has re-introduced a version of LGBT immigration equality legislation in each subsequent Congress. UAFA was reintroduced in this Congress on February 5, 2013, and currently has 130 House co-sponsors.