By Melanie Nathan, 08/10/2011
In the name of Immigration for all, Rachel Tiven Executive Director of Immigration Equality, is seen on this Video justifying why her organization employed a strategy that served to sell out UAFA – The Uniting American Families Act.
UAFA would have provided same-sex binational spouses with greencards. Instead of pursuing UAFA as stand alone legislation, Immigration Equality took it down the path toward the never to happen Comprehensive Immigration Reform.
It made no sense to me at the time, given the Shirley Tan case and how that could have been used to win hearts and minds for an already well sponsored piece of legislation.
As lead advocate for Shirley Tan’s private Bill I attended the Senate Judiciary Committee hearing with Shirley Tan, Jay Mercado and their sons – as we left, we planned to go around the halls and talk to members of Congress about supporting UAFA. Julie Kruse of immigration Equality told us not to waste our time with Republicans.
The next day, instead of Immigration Equality hosting a walk with the Tan family through the halls of Congress, they hi-jacked Shirley and had her speak at a press conference for an Immigration Reform bill which had been introduced bty Congressman Mike Honda; of no help to UAFA at all.
On June 03, 2009, after Shirley Tan gave evidence at the Senate Judiciary Committee hearing for the Uniting American Families Act, (UAFA) Immigration Equality (IE announced that it would be pursuing the broader legislation of comprehensive immigration reform, which at the time was a mere possibility and not even in draft form.
So IE set about becoming an advocacy group and establishing a fund for this cause. What they did was increase their staff, and proceeded to align with groups in the broader immigration community. All the while they were assuring binational same-sex couples that they were working for passage of UAFA. The strategy was to tack UAFA onto the broader immigration reform Bill/s.Instead UAFA should have been maintained as a stand alone Bill and it should have been vigorously fought for by IE, without the other immigration issues attached.
Nothing ever happened to further the interests of UAFA – and the Shirley Tan opportunity was lost – we will never know if it could have worked – because IE veered off path and sold out the Binational community to their broader interest.
I wrote scores of articles about this, warning IE and the community as well as other advocacy groups, that the strategy would bite us in the back – and that it did! However it has served to keep Immigration Equality in business for many more years, and to provide Tiven with boastful opportunities such as seen on this video clip.
The sickening part to me is that this boast is in essence a feeble attempt to justify why Immigration Equality took the path it did, citing the so called importance of immigration, per se, as its excuse.
Now given the lapse of time UAFA is not the imperative legislation it was back in 2009, as the Courts have since ruled DOMA unconstitutional legislation has finally been introduced into Congress to repeal DOMA. Once DOMA is ditched – binational same-sex couples will have the same rights under the Immigration Act as do straight couples. SEE http://lezgetreal.com/?s=immigration+equality
Here is Tiven’s unconscionable and remorseless justification and admission – a must watch – the Shirley Tan part is at 3:00 mins.