American citizens can currently sponsor their foreign spouses for legal residency under the Immigration and Nationality Act. But the estimated 35,000 same-sex, binational couples in the United States are out of luck. The Uniting American Families Act would extend family immigration privileges to those couples.
The bill was introduced in the Senate last February and the House in March. Sen. Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., held hearings on the bill in June.
But while the DREAM Act and AgJOBS may have legs, file this one under "less likely." To get around the Defense of Marriage Act, the law would apply to same-sex couples in a "lifelong," "committed, intimate relationship." Although there will be penalties for fakers, those vagaries are still likely to worry lawmakers who have seen think Gerard Depardieu and Andie MacDowell in Green Card one too many times.
Moreover, there is little bipartisan support for the idea (all of the bill's 118 cosponsors are Democrats). Democrats aren't making it a priority, either. Parts of the DREAM Act and AgJOBS are in Gutierrez's bill, but same-sex immigration benefits are not.
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