By Alessio Tummolillo
On Tuesday, January 29th, President Barack Obama included same-sex couples in his unveiling of the new proposal for immigration reform.
In Las Vegas at Del Sol High School, President Obama shared his ideas for immigration reform. While the proposal has been criticized for offering ideas that had been shot down previously, the fact sheet provided by the White House does include same-sex couples. While not directly included in the President’s speech, the fact sheet states:
Keep Families Together. The proposal seeks to eliminate existing backlogs in the family-sponsored immigration system by recapturing unused visas and temporarily increasing annual visa numbers. The proposal also raises existing annual country caps from 7 percent to 15 percent for the family-sponsored immigration system. It also treats same-sex families as families by giving U.S. citizens and lawful permanent residents the ability to seek a visa on the basis of a permanent relationship with a same-sex partner. The proposal also revises current unlawful presence bars and provides broader discretion to waive bars in cases of hardship.
According to current legislation, couples in same-sex marriages where one person is an immigrant are not able to obtain a green card for that person. This will change should President Obama’s immigration proposal go through.
President Obama aggressively believes that immigration reform should be done as soon as possible, stating in his speech that “now is the time.” About 14 minutes into his speech, he says:
“It is important for us to recognize that the foundation for bipartisan action is already in place. And if Congress is unable to move forward in a timely fashion, I will send up a bill based on my proposal, and insist that they vote on it right away.”
You can watch the speech in its entirety below.