January 9, 2013
The National Center for Lesbian Rights (NCLR) was outraged by the recently introduced “Birthright Citizenship Act of 2013,” discriminatory legislation that seeks to obliterate the 14th Amendment by denying birthright citizenship to the children of some immigrant parents.
This legislation, which has thus far garnered little attention or support, comes amidst momentum for Congress to take up the issue of comprehensive immigration reform. Reform to the immigration system is urgently needed to create a safe, humane, and inclusive immigration policy that aims at strengthening—not weakening—all families. NCLR is proud to be a part of efforts advancing this vision for immigration reform as a member of National Coalition for Immigrant Women’s Rights (NCIWR), the leading national coalition focusing on women’s and gender issues in immigration policy and public discourse.
Immigration reform is crucial to the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) community. Currently, our immigration system doesn’t allow citizens to sponsor their same-sex foreign partner for citizenship. While the outline for immigration reform recently laid out by the Congressional Hispanic Caucus includes provisions that would create a category for sponsorship for same-sex partners, efforts like H.R. 140 threaten those principles of fairness and inclusion.
Moreover, our community consists of immigrants—both documented and undocumented—who need comprehensive and humane immigration reform, including a pathway to citizenship and birthright citizenship in order to participate as full and equal members of society without the fear of discrimination, detention, or deportation because of their country of origin or their race.
H.R. 140 represents an attack on the fundamental principles—one of the core tenets both of U.S. immigration policy and of the LGBT movement—that law and policy should work on behalf of all families, not some. The effort to deny birthright citizenship to the children of some immigrant parents is a direct attack on the legitimacy and equality of some families. It is a legislative vilification of immigrant mothers and families, and a terrible betrayal of the commitment that legal institutions should aim at making us live up to our most cherished ideals as a country, not undermine them. NCLR looks forward to working with our partners at NCIWR and the broader immigration community to combat efforts like H.R. 140 and advocate for a fair and humane immigration policy.