Bi-nationals – Take Back your Right to your FIGHT

Shirley Tan, Jay Mercado, Twins & Melanie

Dear Friends,

Since June of this year I have been critical about Immigration Equality’s strategy – in promoting our UAFA  through inclusion in Comprehensive Immigration reform (CIR) as a priority strategy.   My sense of logic told me that by doing so they would be ‘shooting us in the foot’- as they would in effect limit our advocating for UAFA as a stand alone.  If you search Melanie Nathan UAFA – on Lezgetreal and on oblogdeeoblogda.wordpress BLOGS, you will see a myriad of my articles fearing the outcome of such strategy.
When I originally discussed this with IE’s Steve Ralls and Julie Kruse, I was told that they were pursuing UAFA as a stand alone as well.  However their website seemed to infer that all their eggs were in the CIR basket only.  I expressed my concerns and wrote about it. Soon their website changed to seem as if they were in fact advocating for UAFA as an additional endeavor to CIR.
My favorite expression – ‘the proof of the pudding is in the eating.’ They were extremely ineffective because hardly any new co-sponsors boarded the ship for UAFA.. I believe that had IE not attempted CIR at all, and stayed on track for UAFA, added co-sponsors for UAFA would have also made it more likely for us to in fact be included in CIR; even though I do not think CIR can work for us for many reasons. 
I believe that in truth IE did very little for UAFA since using Shirley Tan’s popularity incorrectly.  They have done nothing but take advantage, using the Tans for their purposes and strategy;  which I have often opposed.  Hours after the Senate Judiciary Committee hearing they had surreptitiously taken Shirley and family to the RFA press announcement.  From that moment on,  they have used Shirley and Jay to promote their agenda and their cause – it has been more  about CIR and less about UAFA.   That is when I had my altercation with them.  It was when Steve Ralls and Victoria Neilsen again went behind my back and used Shirley and Jay in a fundraising escapade and photo op, rather than genuine advocating for all our cause, UAFA.  (no fault of Shirley and Jay Tan Mercado.) By the way Shirley and Jay have made many appearances for UAFA that IE has not been involved in at all.
Now it is as bad as I thought it would be.   They have truly screwed us up. Rachel Tiven, in her BLOG has again launched false information by touting hope. What hope?  That some Democratic so called friends in congress will have a good night’s sleep and decide we are deserving.  See my scathing critique at
Congresswoman Speier told me that unless we had all our legislation by the Spring, the election year will make it impossible thereafter.  Other members of congress and staffers have personally informed me that UAFA should be on its own and that the ONLY thing that will work is if we PUSH our stories on the members of congress, non-stop.  But it is hard to fight the strategy that IE has chosen for us, because we have been told wait for CIR and we are still being told the same thing.  
I am asking you all to take back our right to our fight. Do not be duped by a small organization that touts itself as pre-eminent!  The only pre-eminent people are those of you who are living as binationals – you- in exile, those who are living on borrowed time, in fear, in detention, as the case may be. You have the power in your hands. To write your reps and ask what the hell is happening to UAFA.  Now that we have not been included demand UAFA as a stand alone.  Even if Tiven and others tell you to hang on still for CIR.
Take back our strategy – the only strategy and realize that now is an opportunity – a small window.  Instead of wasting your energy telling Gutierrez you are angry – call your own members of congress and demand that they push for UAFA. Call again and again. Demand UAFA as a stand alone – or believe me you will be in for another ride called “CIR-ala Healthcare Reform debacle”    There can be no trust in that so why place energy and resources into it.    This is an opportunity because you can now say to your rep:- ” see rep, we were excluded and are not guaranteed of future inclusion, we MUST have our own equality based legislation as a civil and human rights issue, because clearly until such time we do not fill into the CIR mould; even our allies in congress refuse to deem our partners worthy as immigrants, hence we must work the equality angle.”
Out of all the Adversity to LGBT community what could possibly be worse than having to leave your home to be with your life partner?  What out of all the LGBT pending legislation could possibly be worse than being denied the reality of your actual relationship.  No DADT- no EDNA- No Hate Crime – nothing can be worse than separating our families, albeit those other piece meal Bills are extremely important.
DOMA’s repeal and/or UAFA should be top of the list and only YOU my friends can do it.  Take the money you would give to Rachel Tiven and buy a cheap air ticket to DC. Walk the halls and tell your story.- write with pictures,  Introduce your self and your plight.   You have nothing to fear by doing so.  Go and see your rep when they are on home turf. Though  I find them to be very welcoming of constituents when you make the trip to DC.
If you have already done that – do it again. 
Okay so you see I am angry.  When I went on to Immigration Equality’s site to comment on my disapproval I was drawn to a very unusual method of screening comments.  I made four comments. Each time, I went back online  the comments appeared and were numbered consecutively with others # 49 and 50.  It had a time and the date.  I made a PDF copy of how the site looked to me.  There was nothing saying they were reviewing my comments first.   Friends mentioned they had posted too, yet they shared the same number as me. When I went on line again I could only see that I owned numbers 49 and 50, and not the friend. It was odd.   What I have since figured out is that IE is deleting my comments, which were critical but benign. At least I think so. I asked for accountability.   I also made suggestions.   In fact I am attaching the PDF showing my comments evidencing my assertions  here.  Today when I went back, my posts were not up and I believe despite having seen them in context as if up like attached PDF reflects, I was never up in the first place.  Nice honest way of treating us binationals and activists.
Let me know what you think
I have sent this to a select few. Do with it as you please.
In sadness, disappointment and solidarity;
Melanie Nathan

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5 Comments on “Bi-nationals – Take Back your Right to your FIGHT”

  1. oblogdeeoblogda December 17, 2009 at 7:39 PM #

    Dear Melanie,

    Thank you for writing this!! You have my complete support. I even called you today because I noticed what Immigration Equality had been doing to use the Tans for their own purposes. I received a fund raising letter from them yesterday that made my blood boil. They have the audacity to ask me for contributions and to tout the Tans? They’ve done nothing for me and Dzmitry, although last year I contributed to them, after learning about them helping them win an asylum case for a persecuted gay man. My score for Immigration Equality is BIG FAT ZERO.

    We have our own bill, the UAFA (not the RFA, ENDA or CIR)! Let’s all get behind our own bill. Let’s tell our stories to the world, in face to face meeting with our representatives’ offices, and let’s allow Immigration Equality to go off into the sunset of CIR. They, like HRC, clearly represent bi-nationals only to the degree that they can use our suffering to promote their own interests, without doing anything substantively to help us. As for myself though, my situation and my partner’s situation is so weak now due to 6 years of drain on us, and absolutely zero hope for any possible solution that could help us, that I may not be able to continue the battle with all of you.

    Have a nice evening,

    Madison Reed


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