Thursday, May 2, 2013

Immigration reform derailed?

We all know by now that the Republican Party has a problem with a demographically varied America.  Their supporters are overwhelmingly older white Christians, and that's not what America looks like.  Following an abysmal performance amongst Hispanics in the election last year,   the issue du jour is immigration reform.

This is an issue on which we have to tip our hat to the Roman Catholic hierarchy.  Many bishops have been outspoken advocates for a sane immigration policy.

Until now.

You see, amongst the estimated 11million who may be affected and supported by immigration reform, there are a small number of trans-national same sex couples.  And we don't want to have THEM included, do we?  Oh, no.

AP reported a few months ago
The immigrant-built American church, known for advocating a broad welcome for migrants and refugees, could end up opposing reform because it would recognize same-sex partners. 
....Sister Mary Ann Walsh, a spokeswoman for the bishops, would say only that recognition of gay couples in the president's reform proposals "jeopardizes passage of the bill."
So, With no mention of gay couples, many of whom face the choice of living apart or living in exile,  a lobbying effort has begun.
Now, as gay activists lobby for inclusion in what may become the most sweeping immigration reforms in decades, even sympathetic lawmakers fear granting their wish could derail bipartisan momentum coalescing behind the bill.... 
Heterosexual couples can sponsor their foreign-born spouses for green cards with ease, but no such option exists for binational same-sex partners. Advocates estimate as many as 36,000 such couples currently live in the country, with countless more living abroad because one partner cannot obtain a visa.
Jonathan Rauch in today's Daily Beast states the obvious:  this isn't about marriage, it's about animus.
In many years of advocating gay marriage, I’ve often said there were legitimate, non-bigoted reasons to be against it. I tried to distinguish people who opposed changing marriage, per se, from people who opposed helping gays. When I was asked how to tell the difference, I said that if someone opposes domestic-partnership laws, openly gay military service, and partner immigration, you can be pretty sure that this person’s goal is to use the law to hurt gay Americans.

Gay people are now serving openly in the military, but the other two moral yardsticks still apply. Especially immigration. Even from a conservative point of view—in fact, especiallyfrom a conservative point of view—it makes no sense to distort and disrupt gay families by depriving binational couples of the tools they need to care for each other. It makes even less sense to do that while providing aspiring newcomers with the tools they need to work, providing businesses with the tools they need to hire, and providing children who grew up in America with the opportunity to live as Americans. Unless your policy goal is to distort and disrupt gay families.
That's it--they are inspired by a goal to hurt us. Because none of them can point to any actual harm done to anyone else by gay couples marrying.  Not a thing.  (Aside:  it amuses me that they bleat on about "children deserve a mother and a father" as though married gay couples will suddenly rampage through the suburbs to steal the children of straight people, like a rainbow-hued Pied Piper.)

As support for marriage equality continues to grow across the board, and a majority of Americans support it, the rhetoric of those opposed to equality has ratcheted into the hysterical.  Their statements aren't anything to do with marriage.  There's no discussion of civil unions (which, while not acceptable, at least offer a fig leaf towards respect).  It's purely anti-gay, with lies and slander.  And moderate Americans increasingly realize that such language does not describe the gay people they know or the relationships that they witness.  That is why, eventually, the opponents will lose.

As far as immigration reform goes, the Supreme Court may have an effect here.  It is possible that even without specific inclusion of LGBT couples in the current bill, if DOMA clause 3 falls, they may be eligible anyway.

But meanwhile, supporters of immigration reform are very angry against those selfish gays. Because it's all THEIR fault, for being selfish.  
My anger is directed at the gay rights lobby. They are not being asked to abandon their cause or sacrifice their dignity. They are being asked for a bit of patience. Anyone can look at polling on the issue of same sex marriage and conclude that the issue will become a non-issue within a matter of years. There will be front door federal recognition of same sex marriage within my lifetime. I do not doubt it. 
Yes, but the problem is, it might not be in THEIR lifetime.   Why isn't their any blame apportioned to the craven Congressmen who would cave on this issue?  Or the insupportable bias of the Bishops?  Why is it always the fault of the gays, who are "too impatient"?  Some people are always so ready to put a cross on someone else's back.

It's always useful to remember this:
Frankly, I have yet to engage in a direct action campaign that was "well timed" in the view of those who have not suffered unduly from the disease of segregation. For years now I have heard the word "Wait!" It rings in the ear of every Negro with piercing familiarity. This "Wait" has almost always meant "Never." We must come to see, with one of our distinguished jurists, that "justice too long delayed is justice denied."
That would be Martin Luther King.

1 comment:

JCF said...

[Off-topic: Maryland banned the death penalty today. TBTG! :-D]

I can't help thinking of the classic Wobbly cartoon, of Daddy Big Bucks laughing, as a black worker and a white worker duke it out w/ each other (instead of uniting to fight Daddy!).

Here, undocumented immigrants (overwhelmingly heterosexual, natch) and allies, are being set against LGBT immigrants (and US partners/allies), as Teabagistan chortles.

I want immigration reform for ALL immigrants, straight and gay. I don't like being told we have to "Choose or Lose".