September 30, 2010 at 6:41 pm EDT | by Chris Johnson
Menendez introduces LGBT inclusive immigration bill

Sen. Robert Menendez (D-N.J.) on Thursday introduced long-awaited comprehensive immigration reform legislation that includes language for bi-national same-sex couples.

The bill contains a provision similar to standalone legislation known as the Uniting American Families Act, which allows Americans to sponsor their same-sex foreign partners for residency in the United States. An estimated 36,000 bi-national couples in the United States are kept apart as a result of current policy.

In a statement, Rachel Tiven, executive director of the Immigration Equality Action Fund, praised Menendez for introducing the legislation.

“The Immigration Equality Action Fund welcomes Senator Menendez’s inclusive legislation, and calls on Congress to pass comprehensive reform, and fix our broken immigration system, immediately,” she said.

Immigration Equality also praised the legislation for having language that would provide a path to citizenship for undocumented immigrants.

Additionally, the organization also lauded the bill for including a provision similar to the DREAM Act, which provides a path to citizenship for young undocumented immigrants who pursue a college education or military service.

“All three components are important to ensuring that lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender immigrants are able to contribute fully to our country while keeping their families together,” Tiven said. “The LGBT community must press for the passage of Senator Menendez’s bill, and call on our allies in Congress to support the legislation.”

The bill was introduced in the final week before the Senate breaks for recess and is unlikely to see progress in Congress by the remainder of this year.

Chris Johnson is Chief Political & White House Reporter for the Washington Blade. Johnson is a member of the White House Correspondents' Association. Follow Chris

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