By Kerry Eleveld
Originally published on Advocate.com September 29 2010 3:45 PM ET
Sen. Robert Menendez of New Jersey is expected to introduce comprehensive immigration legislation before the Senate adjourns this week for the midterm recess, according to Politico, and a source tells The Advocate that the legislation will be LGBT-inclusive.
“We fully expect that the Menendez comprehensive immigration reform bill will be inclusive of the Uniting American Families Act,” said Steve Ralls, director of communications for the pro-LGBT Immigration Equality. UAFA would allow American citizens and permanent residents to sponsor their same-sex partners for residency. “We have been in constant communication with Senator Menendez’s staff to ensure that the legislation will include lesbian and gay families,” Ralls added.
A spokesman for Senator Menendez would not confirm the report but said details of the bill would be forthcoming soon.
Ralls said the legislation would also provide a path to citizenship for the undocumented and would include the DREAM Act, which would give adolescents who came to the U.S. as children a chance to achieve citizenship through completing two years of college or spending two years in the military.
“Both would provide important opportunities for many LGBT immigrants,” he said.
The complicated legislation is not expected to move before the end of the year, but Ralls said it was nonetheless a milestone in setting the terms of the debate moving forward.
“Senator Menendez’s bill will set the stage, in this Congress and the next, for a serious debate on fixing our broken immigration system,” he said.