US immigration law discriminates against lesbians

// 26 September 2006

Reforms to US immigration law are bypassing lesbian couples, according to a story on Women’s eNews.

Perhaps unsurprisingly in the current political climate states-side, efforts to legalise the status of millions of migrant workers have ignored the plight of same-sex couples who do not qualify for the same privileges as their heterosexual peers.

While straight Americans can sponsor their spouses, even those same-sex couples who are legally married in another country have no guarantee they will be able to stay together on US soil.

Lesbians are bearing the brunt of this discrimination, says Jessica Stern, researcher for the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Rights Program at the New York-based Human Rights Watch. “Statistics show that lesbians are far more likely than gays to be raising children and so when immigration tears apart these couples, it affects entire families,” she says.

Debanuj Dasgupta, immigration policy analyst for Queers for Economic Justice, a New York advocacy group, agrees. In addition, he says, “Our research shows that lesbians have less access to immigration and asylum services making it harder for them to navigate their way through discriminatory policies like the immigration laws.”

And, predictably enough, failure to remedy this discrimination is justified with anti-immigrant discrimination. Officials fear that widening the scope of the sponsorship rules will open the way for more immigration fraud.

Meanwhile, a new survey says that lesbians have better sex than straight women. Via Feministing.

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