I started writing this as a comment to a friend’s post on facebook, but then it got really long and then I thought, “hey, didn’t I I used to have a blog where I ranted about stuff?” So here are my thoughts about the disappointment of many that binational couples were not included in the immigration reform bill that just passed the Senate judiciary committee.
There is no explanation but a political one for the failure of the Uniting American Families Act. There aren’t the votes for UAFA. There are 100 senators, and not enough of them will support the provision. In the Republican House its chances are somewhere in the negative range. That may not be a reality we like, but it is an undeniable reality. The question the movement for Commonsense Immigration Reform was/is faced with is: Are we ok with halting the bill altogether, with sacrificing the legalization of 11 million people to make a point? We may not like the choices, but that is what they are right now. Either accept a bill without UAFA, which its proponents say will help approximately 40,000 people, or insist on it and stop any chance of legalization for 11 million people. My answer: I support UAFA but I’m not willing to sacrifice 11 million for those 40,000. Call me a sellout. I’m sure this blogger would. She writes about yesterday’s disappointing news:
I completely and totally reject this decision due to the fact that my husband will have a permanent residency appointment in the very near future because of our heterosexual privilege.
In my world, there’s no excuse, no manner to explain away what happened yesterday. I will not simply tweet out a consolatory message, or rue the fact that sacrifices had to be made.
And those so-called immigrant activists? Those same ones who dare to tell you binational same-sex couples that, “Once the reform becomes law, we’ll come back for the you,” or say to you with earnest eyes, “Don’t worry – The Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) will be struck down next month.”
Those same activists who supposedly believe that, “No human being is illegal?”
I’ll gladly help you slap each and every one of those so-called immigration activists clear across the face.
In Love and Solidarity Always,
PS And all of you supposedly pro-immigrant organizations, groups and individuals that are sending out congratulatory messages, all of you in the online and offline community who were chanting proudly after the vote at the Senate Judiciary Committee meeting yesterday, I offer this to you:
“First they came for the Socialists, and I did not speak out–
Because I was not a Socialist.
Then they came for the Trade Unionists, and I did not speak out–
Because I was not a Trade Unionist.
Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out–
Because I was not a Jew.
Then they came for me–and there was no one left to speak for me.”
We are right to fight for UAFA, and author’s blunt words come from real conviction. But support for UAFA is not the question. Read the whole blog post and you’ll see there is a lot of passion, there is no answer to the question above. Should the whole bill go down because UAFA is not in it? I’m not dismissive of her passion but her need to mock and deride those who dared celebrate committee passage of the full bill, that’s a little much. And the over-used Niemoller quote? Puh-leaze.
The fight for immigration reform began in the 80s after the last one still did not create a sane system to keep people from coming to the country and having to live in the shadows. The Uniting American Families Act is legislation was first introduced in 2000 but has had no real support until very recently. That doesn’t mean it’s not worthwhile, it just means that there has not been the kind of movement behind of UAFA that has finally put CIR on the table.
And then there are the really annoying gay blogger/activists, like John Aravosis of americablog.com, who in a tweetrage about the withdrawal of the Leahy Amendment, had this to say:
What’s particularly unfortunate, and absurd, is that gay couples would be covered by #CIR if they had broken the law and stayed.
— John Aravosis (@aravosis) May 22, 2013
That tells you all you need to know about some of the loudest voices on this subject right now. When Aravosis pulls out the “we’re not law-breakers” line (he’s done it before) he is reminding everyone this bill is only helping those horrible “illegals.” It’s disgusting. Worse, elsewhere he has mocked the idea that legalizing 11 million people does help gay people because many of those 11 million are gay. That’s whose leading the charge among the prominent gay politicos on calling those of us not willing to sacrifice 11 million sellouts.
The fight for marriage equality has made enormous strides in recent years. I support it and, in fact, I rearranged my life in the last two years to defeat the horrible Minnesota amendment and then pass equality. As a gay man who is a citizen of this country I must acknowledge a fact that I hope others can ponder: the cause of gay rights, especially regarding marriage, have progressed far more rapidly than any progress made for immigrants living in shadows. In fact, things have only gotten worse, dramatically worse.
Of course I support the goals of UAFA. But the political reality of vote-counting says it won’t happen and insistence on it will sink a bill that does a lot of the things we do need to have happen, including legalizing millions. In politics sometimes the choices are stark. In this case, I’ll take the imperfect and move on to fight another day.
[I’m taking a bit of a leave from work. After suffering through a chronic neck connection all winter, a couple weeks ago I threw out my back. “What were you doing?”, I was asked by an ER nurse. “Putting on socks. While being old.” With my body telling me I need a rest, I’m taking a much needed long vacation. One thing I do hope to do on that leave is, now that I have re-discovered it, is write about the world and stuff on this blog.]