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A phoenix did rise from the ashes of the disastrous LGBT-Immigration reform summit in New York last weekend. Pushed by the blatantly negative coverage of the Reform Immigration for America (RI4A) coalition and by some in their own ranks, the Center for Community Change — which houses the Fair Immigration Reform Movement (FIRM), a key member of the RI4A coalition — finally came out in support of an immigration reform bill that is inclusive of the Uniting American Families Act (UAFA).
In a press release issued as early as Tuesday, Marissa Graciosa, the director of FIRM, stated that “there is power in our diversity, but we must honor that diversity. And it starts with keeping all families from all backgrounds together. This is why we support the Uniting American Families Act.” Immigrant families include queer families and vice-versa. It is fantastic news that a key part of the RI4A coalition is standing up in recognition of that.
Immigration Equality — a national organization that works on achieving equal immigration benefits for LGBT immigrants — is undoubtedly thrilled. From the looks of the #LGBTCIR Twitter stream, LGBT bloggers and organizers are beaming. And I’m feeling pretty great about things being set right and getting people to roll in the right direction.
Of course, whether or not we actually get an immigration legislation anytime soon is another question. But this is a significant opportunity to start dialogue and build a broad progressive movement for immigration reform that should not be squandered.
What’s next? From an organizer’s point of view, I believe that UAFA advocates and CCC must start with a healthy dialogue on this welcome change and see how they can combine forces in support of the same goals. The endorsement of a key organization in the RI4A coalition also provides Immigration Equality with a golden opportunity to push for the endorsements of other important DC-based organizations, such as America’s Voice and the National Immigration Forum.
The CCC has a responsibility to encourage its pro-equality faith ally groups in the RI4A Coalition to put pressure on the anti-equality elements. In fact, everyone must push back against the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops if it continues to hang onto archaic beliefs about how UAFA would erode the institution of family and marriage. It is 2010 A.D.
As I finish off this post, Juan Rodriguez, a young queer immigrant walking the Trail of DREAMs, sends his love and support via email. He is marching forward, regardless of what trials and tribulations await him, and asking us to do the same.
Photo Credit: xtopher1974