Windy City Media Group Frontpage News

THE VOICE OF CHICAGO'S GAY, LESBIAN, BI, TRANS AND QUEER COMMUNITY SINCE 1985

home search facebook twitter join
Gay News Sponsor Windy City Times 2022-06-08
DOWNLOAD ISSUE
Donate

Sponsor
Sponsor

  IDENTITY

Nair Views: Gay Immigration (and) Inequality
by Yasmin Nair
2007-07-01

This article shared 6359 times since Sun Jul 1, 2007
facebook twitter google +1 reddit email


What does immigration mean for queers? A heterosexual U.S. citizen/permanent resident ( c/pr ) can sponsor a spouse for immigration; a queer U.S. c/pr can't sponsor a partner. The Uniting American Families Act ( UAFA ) seeks to reverse this by substituting the phrase 'permanent partner' wherever the word 'spouse' appears in the Immigration and Nationality Act.

UAFA's heavily supported by groups like Immigration Equality ( IE ) and Out 4 Immigration ( O4I ) , even though it's not part of a comprehensive immigration reform agenda and is meaningless for undocumented partners.

In February, Queers for Economic Justice ( QEJ ) released 'Queers and Immigration: A Vision Statement.' I worked on it with Debanuj DasGupta, QEJ's immigration policy analyst and others, including an IE staff member. Among other things, the statement connects the issues of LGBTQ immigrants, documented and undocumented, to the exploitation of labor that led to the immigration crisis. After a series of intense discussions, language about families and UAFA was included in order to reflect the different groups working on the document. It was sent to a wider group of organizations; over 50 groups signed on but O4I did not. ( Interestingly, the Human Rights Campaign and the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force did not, either. ) To our surprise, IE first signed then took its name off at a very late stage.

Why did two major gay immigration groups not sign on to this document? Why do they support UAFA but not a statement that situates queer immigrant issues in a larger framework of, well, immigration? In trying to answer these questions I interviewed some key people, including Michael Lim at O4I. IE's staff member did not respond to a request for an interview.

UAFA's supporters emphasize 'family reunification,' long a cornerstone of U.S. immigration law. But recent Republican immigration reform proposals favor a merit-based system and would greatly diminish the extent to which immigrants can sponsor family members. Democrats now accuse their opposition of lacking family values.

But is 'family' necessarily part of a progressive reform agenda? DasGupta, explaining why QEJ never originally focused on family or the UAFA, points out that the emphasis on families benefits a neoliberal free-market based economy, where the responsibility for essentials like healthcare is shifted from the state to individuals. Indeed, immigration rights advocates often separate the family from the dynamics of labor.

Media coverage of 'the immigrant family' portrays nurturing environments filled with the scent of home-cooked food and the love of extended family. This ignores patterns of domestic violence and incest within families ( immigrant or not ) and ignores the violence from deportation units.

Ignoring such realities, UAFA's supporters position the interests of bi-national couples in opposition to immigrants, prioritizing the needs of U.S. citizens. O4I quotes an American veteran, Jim Carrozo, who asks emphatically, 'Why should I, a gay U.S. citizen with a foreign partner be forced to leave my country … while immigration reform would allow NON-U.S. citizens to come here?' [ O4I Web site emphasis ]

Perhaps UAFA's supporters are just focused on a single issue. According to Lim, O4I's board felt that there was too much in the vision statement that did not speak to the interest of queers. But surely it's possible to have a more expansive sense of justice. Marta Donayre, co-founder of Love Sees No Borders and a co-writer on the QEJ statement, criticizes the narrow focus of gay immigrant groups and the fact that ' [ a ] n imigrant is considered … only when an appendage of [ an ] American citizen.' Donayre is herself in a bi-national relationship, but her kind of critique is rarely heard from groups like IE or O4I.

The gay rights movement ignores the real meaning of inequality. Lim echoed a prevalent statement, 'What differentiates LGBT people from non-LGBTs is … our sexual or gender identity. … There's plenty of injustice to go around, but that does not go part and parcel with the inequality of LGBT people.' Economic inequality is ignored while the 'inequality of LGBT people' becomes a way to gain privilege for U.S. citizens. But why should spouses/partners should be given immigration priority in the first place?

Positioning UAFA as the penultimate issue for gay immigrants depoliticizes the most political issue of the day. It's clear that groups like IE and O4I actually see the bill as a vision statement, an affirmation of cozy gay family life. Conversely, they acted as if the QEJ vision statement was a binding piece of legislation.

Ultimately, the issue isn't about which groups have signed on, but about what the dissent over signing on indicates about gay immigration politics. In all the brouhaha over UAFA, one salient fact has been ignored: The two prominent groups advocating for it are not predominantly immigrant groups. Their constituents are American citizens whose interest in immigration lies solely in the fact that their partners happen to be immigrants.

Gay groups shouldn't call themselves pro-immigration groups if they're primarily interested in furthering the interests of American citizens. As one fed-up immigration organizer said to me, 'They've got to realize that this is about the needs and issues of all immigrants, not just the immigrants they fuck.'

Yasmin Nair is a member of QEJ's Project Advisory Committee on immigration and CLIA ( Chicago LGBTQ Immigrant Alliance ) , which will hold its second town hall on June 12 at Acme Art Works, 1741 N. Western, at 6-8 p.m. See www.latinospro.org .

E-mail Nair at welshzen@yahoo.com .


This article shared 6359 times since Sun Jul 1, 2007
facebook twitter google +1 reddit email

  ARTICLES YOU MIGHT LIKE

Gay News

Survey: Americans hold complex views on gender identity and trans+ Issues 2022-06-29
-- From a press release - WASHINGTON, D.C. (June 28, 2022) — As the United States addresses issues of transgender rights and the broader landscape around gender identity continues to shift, the American public holds a complex set of views around these ...


Gay News

VIEWS Workers' rights are LGBTQ+ rights 2022-06-27
- June usually marks a joyous month for the LGBTQ+ community and our allies as we reflect on the decades of hard work that our community and movement have put into securing and promoting our civil rights. ...


Gay News

WORLD Japanese ruling, Pride events, Colombia election, Boris Johnson 2022-06-26
- A Japanese court ruled that the country's ban on same-sex marriage does not violate the constitution, and rejected demands for compensation by three couples who said their right to free union and equality has been violated, ...


Gay News

How Coming Out in the 1970s Helped Me Make Brave, Life-changing Decisions 2022-06-25
By Edith Forbes, author of Tracking A Shadow: My Lived Experiment With MS - As a child growing up in Wyoming in the 1960's, I did not know any actual person who was gay. I knew exactly one fact about gay people, a fact universally accepted but never talked about: Gay people were strange. Even ...


Gay News

VIEWS The gay general at Valley Forge 2022-06-18
- Friedrich Wilhelm Ludolf Gerhard Augustin von Steuben was born on Sept. 17, 1730, in Magdeburg, Germany. Son of a military father, Friedrich joined the Prussian army— considered the most advanced professional army in Europe at the ...


Gay News

VIEWS Introductory speech at the IML/IMBB 2022 contest 2022-06-04
- Note: International Mr. Leather (IML) 2022 and International Mr. Bootblack (IMBB) 2022 took place May 26-30 in Chicago. At the culminating contest on May 29, Chuck Renslow Charitable Foundation President ...


Gay News

LETTER Homophobia on The Maze Jackson show 2022-06-02
- NOTE: Maze Jackson—who hosts"The Most Dangerous Social-Radio Show in Chicago" on weekday mornings at WBGX 1570AM—is the husband of Metropolitan Water Reclamation District President and Cook County assessor candidate Kari ...


Gay News

VIEWPOINT: LETTERS Pride: Remembering who we are 2022-05-30
- The LGBTQAI community echoes the mantra of secular society: Happiness comes from sex, money and power. Life is too busy with work and leisure to have time for religion and/or values. During this period of Pride ...


Gay News

VIEWS Another 'Handmaid's Tale,' or sex and the supreme Catholics 2022-05-24
- Amy Vivian Coney Barrett was confirmed as an associate justice of the U.S. Supreme Court by the U.S. Senate on Oct. 26, 2020. Barrett is only the fifth woman ever to serve on the Court. She is also the sixth Catholic ...


Gay News

'LGBTQ Rights on the Line: The Role of Communicators Advocating for Equality' event preview 2022-05-22
-- From a press release - Celebrating, honoring and acknowledging Pride Month is more important this year than ever (and it should be celebrated all year, not just during one month). The expected Supreme Court ruling that will undermine the right to ...


Gay News

VIEWS Dignity/Chicago celebrates 50 years of ministry 2022-05-06
- It was 1972 and it was dangerous to be gay or lesbian. One could be arrested, publicly humiliated or fired from one's job. Even finding safety in the emerging bar scene was hazardous. Added to that ...


Gay News

VIEWS Biden, Democrats must end Title 42 now 2022-04-26
- The Biden Administration should honor its commitment to immediately end Title 42 restrictions which were imposed by former President Donald Trump, to deny asylum seekers their basic, protected rights. It would be a mistake for Democrats ...


Gay News

VIEWS The closing of civil society: Russia and the U.S., or fear the queer! 2022-04-23
- Putin's invasion of Ukraine has made manifest the fragility of civil society in Russia and the strength of civil society in Ukraine. It has also once again focused an intense spotlight on our own civil society. ...


Gay News

LETTERS A difference in opinion about Vatican document 2022-04-07
- I am responding to DignityUSA Executive Director Marianne Duddy-Burks, who issued a press release that Windy City Times published. A newly released document from the Vatican's Congregation for Catholic Education could trigger a new wave of ...


Gay News

VIEWPOINT Mixed reactions to Will Smith's slap 2022-04-05
- By now, everyone has seen or heard about Will Smith slapping Chris Rock at the Oscars for making a tasteless and misogynistic joke about his wife's short hair resembling Demi Moore's buzzcut in the 1997 movie ...


 



Copyright © 2022 Windy City Media Group. All rights reserved.
Reprint by permission only. PDFs for back issues are downloadable from
our online archives. Single copies of back issues in print form are
available for $4 per issue, older than one month for $6 if available,
by check to the mailing address listed below.

Return postage must accompany all manuscripts, drawings, and
photographs submitted if they are to be returned, and no
responsibility may be assumed for unsolicited materials.
All rights to letters, art and photos sent to Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago
Gay and Lesbian News and Feature Publication) will be treated
as unconditionally assigned for publication purposes and as such,
subject to editing and comment. The opinions expressed by the
columnists, cartoonists, letter writers, and commentators are
their own and do not necessarily reflect the position of Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay,
Lesbian, Bisexual and Transegender News and Feature Publication).

The appearance of a name, image or photo of a person or group in
Nightspots (Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times
(a Chicago Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender News and Feature
Publication) does not indicate the sexual orientation of such
individuals or groups. While we encourage readers to support the
advertisers who make this newspaper possible, Nightspots (Chicago
GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay, Lesbian
News and Feature Publication) cannot accept responsibility for
any advertising claims or promotions.

 
 

TRENDINGBREAKINGPHOTOS







Sponsor
Sponsor


 



Donate


About WCMG      Contact Us      Online Front  Page      Windy City  Times      Nightspots
Identity      BLACKlines      En La Vida      Archives      Advanced Search     
Windy City Queercast      Queercast Archives     
Press  Releases      Join WCMG  Email List      Email Blast      Blogs     
Upcoming Events      Todays Events      Ongoing Events      Bar Guide      Community Groups      In Memoriam     
Privacy Policy     

Windy City Media Group publishes Windy City Times,
The Bi-Weekly Voice of the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Trans Community.
5315 N. Clark St. #192, Chicago, IL 60640-2113 • PH (773) 871-7610 • FAX (773) 871-7609.