Today, U.S. Representative Mike Quigley (IL-05) praised the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) for new, written guidance codifying that lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) family ties would be recognized in immigration cases. The moves comes in response to a letter sent by Quigley and 83 additional Members of Congress calling on the agency to explicitly recognize the ties of a same-sex partner or spouse as a positive factor for discretionary relief in immigration enforcement deportation cases.
"The Department of Homeland Security should be commended for its willingness to reexamine and clarify policies that unfairly discriminate against the LGBT community, and I hope other agencies will follow their example," said Rep. Quigley. "By clarifying the definition of "family relationships' to include LGBT couples, the new DHS immigration guidelines provide equality and some measure of confidence and relief to these families facing separation. One step at a time, through changes like this, I am confident America will someday reach a place of true equality and justice for all."
Immigration Equality, the first and only organization in the United States dedicated exclusively to achieving full equality for LGBT and HIV-positive immigrants, recognized Rep. Quigley for his efforts on this issue.
"Immigration Equality is grateful to Representative Mike Quigley for his ongoing efforts to ensure LGBT immigrant families are not separated," said Rachel B. Tiven, the group's executive director. "Today's announcement is the direct result of calls by Congressional leaders for clear, written guidance that will help our families. Representative Quigley has been an important part of the coalition in Congress requesting real change that will help real families. We look forward to working with him as we continue our efforts in Congress to pass fair, inclusive legislation that will permanently end the discrimination LGBT immigrant families face in our country's immigration system."
A member of the Congressional Equality Caucus, Rep. Quigley has been a tireless advocate for the LGBT community. He is a co-sponsor of the Respect for Marriage Act, which would ensure that all couples are treated fairly under federal law. Recently he called on the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to reexamine its antiquated blood donation policy that places a lifetime ban on men who have sex with men (MSM) from donating. He has also offered legislation that would expand the Violence Against Women Act to include the LGBT community.