O’Donnell Statement Calling for Inclusion of LGBT Rights in Comprehensive Immigration Reform

Sends Letter to Senator Chuck Schumer with Twenty-Seven Assembly Colleagues as Signatories

October 1, 2010 – Today, in a letter to Senator Chuck Schumer, Assembly Member Daniel O’Donnell urged the Senator to ensure that protections for the rights of lesbian and gay families are included in future comprehensive immigration reform.Twenty-seven of O’Donnell’s NYS Assembly Colleagues also signed onto the letter.

Under current immigration law, members of bi-national gay and lesbian couples are restricted from obtaining permanent U.S. resident status in the same way as would a legal spouse due to a discriminatory definition of “permanent partner.”The Uniting American Families Act (S.424) would alter this definition and ensure equality for gay and lesbian couples.

In the letter, Assembly Member O’Donnell and his colleagues applauded Schumer for his co-sponsorship of the Uniting American Families Act and for his efforts toward securing equal rights for lesbian and gay families, saying:

“We cannot agree more strongly with your assertion that preserving families and promoting family reunification must be a cornerstone of our immigration system.No American citizen should be forced to choose between their partner and their country, the very conflict created by present policy.Current immigration law is no longer tolerable.”

O’Donnell went on to state:

“As steps towards comprehensive immigration reform progress, our hope is that you will fight to incorporate S.424 into its framework.We ask you, as Chair of the Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on Immigration, Border Security and Citizenship, for your continued vigilance in seeing its merits to law.”

Enacting this change in immigration law would bring relief to an estimated 36,000 Americans.