As HRC fights to get the Senate to take up the FY 2011 Defense Authorization bill, which contains language to repeal “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” (DADT), Senate Majority Leader Reid has also made clear that he wants to offer an amendment to the Defense bill that would make undocumented youth eligible for a path to citizenship as they complete a college degree or two years of military service (the “DREAM Act”). While it is obvious why repealing DADT is important to the LGBT community, reforming our nation’s broken immigration system is important to our community as well.
On Sunday, March 21, 2010, members and supporters of HRC joined hundreds of organizations in the March for America to call on Congress and President Obama to fix our country’s broken immigration system. Since then, HRC has loudly spoken out against the draconian measures taken in Arizona to criminalize an entire class of human beings. When four students from Florida – Felipe Matos, Gaby Pacheco, Carlos Roa, and Juan Rodriguez – embarked on a 1500-mile journey from Miami to our nation’s capitol to spotlight the DREAM Act, HRC hosted these students in DC.
Why is HRC interested in these issues? Because, like the LGBT community, the undocumented immigrant community is often marginalized by society. It is exposed to deep-seeded hatred, discrimination and hate violence – issues that are all too familiar to the LGBT community. In addition, much like the pre-Lawrence sodomy statutes that criminalized lesbian and gay relationships, measures such as the draconian Arizona law dehumanize and criminalize an entire community of people based on their actual or perceived immigration status. Like DADT repeal, immigration reform proposals, such the DREAM Act, deserve the attention of Congress. As we at HRC work to end discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity, we will continue to support our friends working to reform our broken immigration system.