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Immigration Inequality: Keeping Binational Families Out

Ari Rosmarin,
Deputy Director,
ACLU Campaign for Smart Justice
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May 19, 2010

Here’s some news that will probably shock you: Our immigration system is broken.

And not just in Arizona.

Across the country, immigrants are routinely stripped of basic due process rights and torn apart from family members, thousands are kept in substandard detention conditions each year, and local police are taking immigration enforcement into their own hands, leading to widespread racial profiling and discrimination. It’s a national scandal.

But if that’s not enough to get you riled up, there’s another aspect of our broken system that isn’t getting much attention: discrimination against LGBT families.

Despite the fact that LGBT couples can now get married in five U.S. states (plus D.C.!) and eight countries, same-sex binational couples cannot sponsor each other for immigration purposes in the United States. There are approximately 36,000 such couples in the United States seeking recognition by our immigration system in order to keep their families intact. But the law as it stands mandates inequality.

The New York Civil Liberties Union’s new video, “Citizen Non-Citizen,” highlights the heart-wrenching story of Britta and Carla, a married lesbian binational couple living in New York City fighting to stay together in the United States. With the help of allies across New York and the country, the NYCLU and ACLU are working to push Congress to pass the Uniting American Families Act (UAFA), which would help bring the law closer to true immigration equality for LGBT families.

Please note that by playing this clip You Tube and Google will place a long-term cookie on your computer. Please see You Tube’s privacy statement on their website and Google’s privacy statement on theirs to learn more. To view the ACLU’s privacy statement, click here.

To find out more about the NYCLU’s work in support of comprehensive immigration reform and to take action in support of the UAFA, visit

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