Another good reason to vote: immigration reform

The Task Force joined thousands for the March 21 rally on the nation's capital to demand Congress pass comprehensive immigration reform.

With the election just a few days away, we need your vote to make sure the next Congress moves in the right direction on immigration equality. We in the LGBT and progressive community know far too well how easily people who “look different” or “act different” can be singled out for harassment and persecution.

Some states are planning on copying Arizona’s racially motivated new immigration law, a law that compounds the injustices of the immigration system: It allows police officers to question people about their immigration status if there is “reasonable suspicion” they may be in the country undocumented. This “suspicion” can be based on nothing more than the color of someone’s skin, an accent or even the way someone is dressed. In other words, stopping someone to make sure they’re a citizen could be based on nothing.

Laws like this compound how vulnerable LGBT people already are under the immigration system:

  • LGBT people face life-threatening discrimination: Victoria Arellano, an undocumented transgender woman, was denied HIV medications and medical attention while in a detention jail. She died, chained to a hospital bed with two immigration guards at the door.
  • Binational LGBT families face separation from their partners and families because of our lack of marriage equality. However, pending legislation could help — the Uniting American Families Act would allow U.S. citizens and permanent residents to sponsor their same-sex partners for family-based immigration.

The Task Force is calling for comprehensive immigration reform and equal treatment for all, including LGBT individuals, couples and families. We want humane detention standards and a clear path to citizenship for everyone, asylum for those persecuted because of their sexual orientation or gender identity and unification for binational families.

Without federal immigration reform, we could see more racist, draconian laws like the one passed in Arizona.

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