One of the worse moments of the last four years was on the day that "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" was repealed the United States Senate refused to pass the 'Dream Act'. Watching that vote was heart-breaking. How could this nation refuse a path to citizenship for the children of undocumented workers who have only know America as their homeland and many were already in college and serving in the military.
Immigration is what has made America one of the greatest nations in the world. As President Obama said in his speech in Nevada unless we are Native Americans then all of our families can be traced to immigrants. The possibility that at last we could have a path to citizenship for the eleven million undocumented workers is indeed exciting. Those included are not just Hispanics but a virtual United Nations of individuals in this country. In New York City you can find thousands and thousands of undocumented Irish who only desire is to become American citizens and help make America great.
However, the Republicans who want to embrace the Hispanic vote are not ready to allow LGBT Americans to be part of the 'dream'. Binational LGBT couple have been forced to flee America, been torn apart as one partner is sent home and they constantly live in fear of being discovered. Even with marriage in some states, DOMA makes it impossible for LGBT binational couples to have the same rights as other Americans.
Republican Senator John McCain said it just isn't a priority to include LGBT Americans in immigration reform. Republican Lindsay Graham says if LGBT Americans are included the entire reform package will be placed in jeopardy. Nothing like some good old divisive politics of pitting the oppression of one group against the oppression of another group.
In his speech in Nevada, President Obama made it clear that the rights of LGBT binational couples are a priority for him. The President said:
Keep Families Together. The proposal seeks to eliminate existing backlogs in the family-sponsored immigration system by recapturing unused visas and temporarily increasing annual visa numbers. The proposal also raises existing annual country caps from 7 percent to 15 percent for the family-sponsored immigration system. It also treats same-sex families as families by giving U.S. citizens and lawful permanent residents the ability to seek a visa on the basis of a permanent relationship with a same-sex partner. The proposal also revises current unlawful presence bars and provides broader discretion to waive bars in cases of hardship.
LGBT leadership and organizations must work with their counterparts in the Hispanic community to ensure that the divide and conquer strategy of the Republicans is not successful. All of our dreams can be met with a united front and America can emerge as a stronger and better nation