Lawmakers Push Immigration/UAFA

BY Kerry Eleveld

July 15 2010 3:55 PM ET

The couple estimated that they spend an extra $10,000 to $15,000 a year
in travel and relocation expenses, but even more pressing for them are
some recent health problems that Blesch is experiencing. At 70, he has
been HIV-positive for 25 years and has developed complications
with his medications, among other issues.

Tim, who asked not to
be identified by his last name, said he recently found Blesch
unconscious in their apartment after he had undergone surgery the week
before.

“I thought he was dead,” said Tim, 64, who will soon
have to travel back to South Africa alone and worries for Blesch’s
health.

“It’s a constant worry; I can’t explain that to
anybody,” he said. “It’s every day.”

Steve Ralls, a spokesman
for the pro-LGBT group Immigration Equality, said that as members have traveled around the
country and spoken to the people who are actually affected by this
issue, they have heard “resounding support” for an LGBT-inclusive bill.


“The voices of countless constituents and immigrant families
have now drowned out the dwindling voices of opposition on this issue,”
Ralls said.

But the motivation on Capitol Hill may be as much due
to political calculus as constituency support. Despite a recent call by President Barack Obama for congress to take up immigration reform this
year, a comprehensive bill has yet to be introduced in the Senate, and Rep. Gutierrez has acknowledged in the past couple weeks that his bill
does not have the 217 votes needed to pass the House.

And
although House leadership had been insisting that the Senate move first
on an immigration measure, key lawmakers in the House have made an
effort in past weeks to jump-start the issue again.

“The U.S.
government’s lawsuit against the Arizona law and the debate the Arizona
law has sparked across the country has presented an opportunity for Congress to take up the issue in a serous way again,” Ralls said.
“There’s a short window of opportunity between now and the end of this Congress to do that.”















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