by Melanie Nathan – Dec 12, 2011
Please watch the Video below which was recorded on June03, 2009. Nothing has happened out of Congress for binationals since Schumer made these statements. To pitch VISAS for new immigrants is disingenuous until such time as interim VISAS can be provided for same-sex couples by Congress.
The Irish people are happy with Senator Charles “Chuck” Ellis Schumer (D-NY) – they may be able to emigrate legally to the United States in the coming years; “hope at last” according to the article, referenced below. I got really angry! What about our binational American same-sex couples Senator Schumer?
The defense of Marriage Act, DOMA, precludes same-sex Americans from getting Fiance visas or green cards to bring their partners into the United States, in parity with straight couples.
While 0ur binational American residents and citizens are begging and pleading to come home for Xmas or to bring their beloveds into the U.S.A., tomorrow, Senator Charles Schumer of New York will introduce a bill which will allow up to 10,000 Irish a year to come and work legally in the United States, though not receive green cards.
I sat mere rows from Senator Schumer at the Senate Judiciary Committee hearing for UAFA , two plus years ago, back on June 03, 2009, where the Senator made the comments that can bee seen on the Video below. Yet he and his colleagues in the Democratic Party, even when they had a House and Senate majority, together with a Democratic President, did absolutely nothing creative to unite our Americans with their partners.
They knew very well that couples have been separated and know that remains the current situation. They heard moving testimony from an American living in exile and what have they done for him or the others?
The Irish are excited and so am I for any immigration reform and/ or VISA program; but what about a creative VISA program for our partners Senator Schumer? You have been hanging around waiting for DOMA to repeal – for UAFA to make its way out of the Senate Judiciary Committee and for the useless idea that Comprehensive Immigration Reform will get anywhere with a stonewall Congress. None of that is helping our our binational same-sex couples who need an immediate remedy.
In fact even during the lameduck session, UAFA never saw the light of day!
According to an Article in the Irish Central-
“The Irish program is a visa plan that is based on an Australian visa program that allows natives to come to America and indefinitely renew a work visa for them and their spouses.
“Schumer made the promise to introduce the E-3 program, as it is known, to a group of Irish American leaders who met with him on Friday. I was one of the people present, and we all realized that this bill would be a major step in the right direction. It came about because other countries – China, Mexico, India and the Philippines – have received special consideration for a new visa program, while the Irish were left off the list. That angered Irish community leaders, and Schumer has now stepped up to the plate to try and deliver. ”
While here is no guarantee, though, that the bill will be successful, ” but it is a very important first step,” says the piece, “the first time since the Morrison and Donnelly visa programs that a bill to help the Irish legally live in America has been put forward.” According to Bart Murphy, head of the Irish Lobby for Immigration Reform, the bill is a huge step in the right direction. “It finally brings a focus to all of our efforts, and I believe it may well prove successful, thanks to Senator Schumer,” Murphy said. If the bill for the other countries passes, Schumer is hoping that the Irish E-3 visas can be attached to it. If the bill does not pass, or if it is not possible to attach the E-3 visas, then he has promised early in 2012 to create another vehicle to help the Irish. “
In addition such VISA programs can impact undocumented citizens and there are many gay couples living in hiding and as well. In the same way as the article notes:
“On the face of it, the new visa, if passed, would not immediately help the Irish undocumented now resident in the U.S.But if a waiver rule can be applied as has happened in Mexico, where the local U.S. consulate allows those who have lived illegally in America to apply for visas, then it could make a huge difference,” so could be the case for Gay and lesbian same-sex couples in the US with a special VISA program.”
Notably, as the article states:
“Senator Schumer is one of the most powerful men in U.S. politics, with an Irish chief of staff, Martin Brennan, whose folks hail from Co. Mayo. Having him on the side of the Irish is a huge step forward in the right direction.
So I ask Senator Schumer, surely your existing American citizens and residents, those already here in the USA and those exiled abroad, who cannot sponsor their spouses for green cards or fiance’s for visas should be the subject of special VISA legislation before we bring in new immigrants, whether they be Irish, Italian, Australians or whatever….
Surely your power to which the Irish press refers could indulge in some creative immigration attention first to Americans seeking equality for spouses and foremost to the question of parity for those who are currently discriminated against under American law? Equality for all Americans should be at the top of your Agenda. AND please do not tell me you are waiting for DOMA’s repeal or immigration reform or UAFA…. our gay and lesbian couples have waited 20 years since the first permanent partner piece of legislation began its flail in the wind.