The Herald of Everett, Washington
HeraldNet on Facebook HeraldNet on Twitter HeraldNet RSS feeds HeraldNet Pinterest HeraldNet Google Plus HeraldNet Youtube
HeraldNet Newsletters  Newsletters: Sign up | Manage  Green editions icon Green editions

Calendar


HeraldNet Headlines
HeraldNet Newsletter Delivered to your inbox each week.
Published: Sunday, August 18, 2013, 12:01 a.m.
Viewpoints


Comprehensive immigration reform is long overdue

  • Evelyn Rivera (left), Carlos Padilla (center) and Renata Teodoro, who are on the U.S. side of the border wall dividing Nogales, Ariz., from Nogales, M...

    Valeria Fernandez / Associated Press

    Evelyn Rivera (left), Carlos Padilla (center) and Renata Teodoro, who are on the U.S. side of the border wall dividing Nogales, Ariz., from Nogales, Mexico, reunite with their mothers, who are on Mexico's side of the wall, on June 11.

When DOMA was repealed, Carlos Padilla was overjoyed that his love for his partner could finally be recognized legally; no longer did he feel like a second-class member of the community.
That's when reality set in; on his wedding day, his parents won't be able to attend. Carlos is gay but also an immigrant. Recently, he received a legal reprieve from deportation under the Deferred Action for Children of Arrivals (DACA) but his father lives in the U.S. without legal status. Carlos lives in fear that than any day he could be detained and deported.
In 2008, Carlos' mother had to go back to Mexico because of a death in the family and was forced to live apart from her family for five years. On June 11, Carlos briefly reunited with her on the border between Arizona and Mexico; however, a fence still separated them.
Our nation is committed to American family values and family unity and that's why the fight for marriage equality was so strong. Yet, our broken immigration system continues to deny thousands of families like Carlos' the opportunity to be united.
The LGBTQ community is standing side-by-side with our immigrant rights allies to pass comprehensive reform because as a nation, we pride ourselves on keeping families united, and our immigration policies should reflect our commitment to keep families together -- all families. Too many LGBTQ immigrants are forced into two closets, one because of their sexual orientation and the other because of their immigration status. It's time for all immigrants, including at least 267,000 LGBTQ immigrants, to be able to come out of the shadows.
Comprehensive, compassionate immigration reform is an urgent priority for our nation. Every day, 11 million undocumented immigrants are forced to live as second-class members of society, and 1,100 families are torn apart. Here in Washington, this broken system is devastating our neighbors and friends.
The Senate recently passed -- by a wide 68-32 margin -- a bipartisan immigration reform bill that goes a long way in supporting these aspiring citizens. Now it's time for the House of Representatives to act. America deserves a vote on immigration reform with a road map to citizenship.
The Senate's bill includes many provisions that will particularly benefit LGBTQ immigrants, such as eliminating the one-year bar on applying for asylum; improving the conditions for people who are held in detention facilities; limiting the use of solitary confinement; and prohibiting the use of this practice based solely on a detainee's sexual orientation or gender identity. While the Senate's bill is not perfect and includes needlessly harsh border security provisions, it's the best chance in our generation to provide a road map to citizenship for these 11 million men, women and children.
Americans overwhelmingly support comprehensive immigration reform with a path to citizenship. Poll after poll demonstrates that regardless of party affiliation, demographics, or geography, Americans want their elected officials to fix the country's broken immigration system.
The House GOP stands between 11 million immigrants and their chance at citizenship and the American Dream. We must hold our members of Congress accountable and tell the House that now is the time to act. No more posturing, no more piecemeal provisions, no more extremist amendments that aim to undermine all the progress that both parties have made.
We will continue our work to ensure the final legislation is in the best interest of all immigrants and the LGBTQ community. We stand together in our fight for comprehensive reform for immigrants like Carlos, who wants nothing more than for his parents to be able to celebrate with him on his wedding day.
For Carlos and the millions like him, we urge Congress to return from its recess break and reform our immigration system now.
Doug Hamilton is operations manager of Equal Rights Washington. Rich Stolz is executive director of One America, Washington's largest immigrant advocacy organization.

Share your comments: Log in using your HeraldNet account or your Facebook, Twitter or Disqus profile. Comments that violate the rules are subject to removal. Please see our terms of use. Please note that you must verify your email address for your comments to appear.

You are logged in using your HeraldNet ID. Click here to update your profile. | Log out.

Our new comment system is not supported in IE 7. Please upgrade your browser here.

comments powered by Disqus
digital subscription promo

Subscribe now

Unlimited digital access starting at 99 cents, or included with any print subscription.

loading...

Herald Editorial Board

Jon Bauer, Opinion Editor: jbauer@heraldnet.com

Carol MacPherson, Editorial Writer: cmacpherson@heraldnet.com

Neal Pattison, Executive Editor: npattison@heraldnet.com

Josh O'Connor, Publisher: joconnor@heraldnet.com

Have your say

Feel strongly about something? Share it with the community by writing a letter to the editor. Send letters by e-mail to letters@heraldnet.com, by fax to 425-339-3458 or mail to The Herald - Letters, P.O. Box 930, Everett, WA 98206. Include your name, address and daytime phone number. (We'll only publish your name and hometown.) We reserve the right to edit letters, but if you keep yours to 250 words or less, we wonít ask you to shorten it. If your letter is published, please wait 30 days before submitting another. Have a question about letters? Contact Carol MacPherson at cmacpherson@heraldnet.com or 425-339-3472.

HeraldNet highlights

Nothing but corn
Nothing but corn: Everett Mall business grew from a kernel of an idea
History at every turn
History at every turn: Website finds stories behind county's historic corners
Cold-weather playtime
Cold-weather playtime: Beyond skis & snowboards: 11 ways to have fun in winter
The real bottom line
The real bottom line: Millions spent in Oso, but generosity can't be measured
SnoCoSocial