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Lame-Duck Immigration Bill?

Lame-Duck Immigration Bill?

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Comprehensive immigration reform, which includes LGBT families, may be back on the table for the lame-duck session following a White House Oval Office meeting Tuesday between President Barack Obama, Sen. Robert Menendez, and other members of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus.

"The White House is ready and willing, and we may be having another meeting with the White House very soon this week," Menendez told USA Today following the meeting. Last month Menendez introduced the Senate's comprehensive immigration bill, which includes language that would enable American citizens and green card holders to sponsor their same-sex partners for residency.

Representatives from the pro-LGBT group Immigration Equality said they wanted advocates to be on alert for the possibility that Menendez and his colleagues will make a serious lame-duck push for the immigration bill.

"In the next 48 hours, Immigration Equality will launch a national effort to mobilize our supporters, and the broader LGBT movement, behind Senator Menendez's bill," said Immigration Equality spokesman Steve Ralls.

Ralls said passing the bill would not only be "a decisive victory" for binational same-sex couples but also for the LGBT population as a whole.

"It would be the first federal recognition for LGBT families, which would deal a blow to all the laws and statutes that prevent that recognition," he said, "and this may be our last chance to do that for the immediate future."

But there's an ever-increasing docket of legislation for an ever-finite amount of time during the lame-duck session, which could end for the Senate as soon as December 10.

LGBT activists also have their eyes on passing "don't ask, don't tell" repeal as part of the National Defense Authorization Act. The president himself has tagged renewal of the Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty and extending Bush-era tax cuts for middle-class Americans as priorities. And following Tuesday's immigration meeting, Rep. Luis Gutierrez also told The Huffington Postthat the president may make a push for passing the DREAM Act, which would provide undocumented students brought to the United States as minors with a path to citizenship through higher education or military service.

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